The Lone Bellow gave an all kinds of emotional performance for the sold out 9:30 Club concert goers on Friday, November 10th.
Zach Williams, adeptly leading the vocals charge, sang the hell out of each of their songs of Americana and alt-country, that move between heartbreak and loss and yearning and prevailing through hardship.
And it was a generous night of music, a robust 19 songs and a never-ending supply of passion and joy from the band for their craft. Zach was rarely seen without movement and mock head banging, and the occasional spittle flying on to his healthy length beard. ‘Emote! or go home’ could be the band’s slogan.
The Lone Bellow comes from Brooklyn, New York, and aside from Zach’s driving force, the band is primarily Kanene Donehey Pipkin (bass, mandolin) and Brian Elmquist (guitar) – they both also get in on the singing, and this show included two additional backing members. The drummer may have been Keegan Michael Key’s doppelgänger.
The November 10th show was the first of two they played at the 9:30 Club, fans couldn’t get enough so they had to add a second show.
They are touring for their third album, Walk Into A Storm, and they virtually regaled the audience with the entire album (8 of 10 songs). Early they played songs from the album with titles like “Can’t Be Happy for Long” and “Is It Ever Going To Be Easy”, cementing the theme of the evening early on.
Six songs into their set, Kanene came to the forefront and sang the lilting “Feather”, and aside from giving Zach a chance to catch his breath, it is a sweet song of crooning hope on moving beyond trauma, ‘One day at a time and you’ll be just fine. Trouble tied to a feather, I feel just a little bit better.’
A couple of songs later, Zach, Kanene, and Brian huddled closely together at center stage (the other supporting band members stepped out) to sing three acoustic songs. The harmoniously elegant “Lovely In Blue” sang by Kanene, morphed into “Come Break My Heart Again” sang by Zach, to “Watch Over Us” sang heartbreakingly by Brian to complete the trio.
Another standout from the new album is the third single “Deeper in the Water”, with a rocking chorus ‘I like to think I’m a survivor, but my bones are getting tired.’ My favorite song could prove to be “Time’s Always Leaving”, not for the weird, strangely clever video but rather for the uplifting lyrics and hopeful chorus, ‘Stay, stay, I’m not through with her yet.’
For the encore, they ended with a cover of Tom Petty’s “Wildflowers”, both a tribute to the legend’s passing and a fitting coda to an exceptional show, ‘You belong somewhere you feel free.’
I don’t know about you, but I’m still feeling free and singing along to their songs. Make sure you don’t miss out the next time they visit DC!
Can’t Be Happy for Long
The One You Should’ve Let Go
Is It Ever Going to Be Easy
You Can Be All Kinds of Emotional
Lovely In Blue
Come Break My Heart Again
Watch Over Us
Long Way to Go
Deeper in the Water
Teach Me To Know
Then Came the Morning
You Never Need Nobody
May You Be Well
Time’s Always Leaving
Green Eyes And A Heart Of Gold
Wildflowers (Tom Petty cover)