Wolf Trap once again proves how excellent their programming is by pulling together a duo of Pearl and the Beard and Bombadil. These two three-person indie bands were both a good fit for each other and the venue itself. There simply isn’t a better way to spend a Friday night after a long work week then to kick back with a brew in the homey barns, and listen to quality musicians.
Both bands were impressive in their ability to trade instruments, swap lead vocals, and both contained multiple band members with killer singing voices. Bombadil, a three-man band from North Caroline opened the show dawning suites, ties, and bright sneakers. All three men (Stuart Robinson, Daniel Michalak, and James Phillips) were talented musicians swapping between guitar, piano, harmonica, drums, among other instruments, but what really set them apart were their tight vocal harmonies and their witty and poetic lyrics.
It occurred to me while listening to the intricacies of their songs that this band’s talent could easily be overlooked at a busy music venue. A loud bar or bad sound system and the complexity of Bombadil excellent writing in songs like “Thank You” would have been altogether lost. That’s why Wolf Trap was so ideal; the acoustics and sound system are the best in the business, and allowed me hear every world and complex harmony. Delightful.
You know you’re in for a real treaty when the opening band is so good, but if Bombadil was a treat, then Pearl and the Beard was the real meal. This three person (four with guest guitarist) Brooklyn based band’s (featuring Jocelyn Mackenzie, Emily Hope Price, and Jeremy Styles) eclectic mix of pop and folk was particularly satisfying when Mackenzie was pounding the drums as Price’s powerful voice belted over her cello. Their music is both modern and elegant and could appeal to just about any age group. Looking around I noticed the audience goers were college up through seasoned adults. Pearl and the Beard has a whole series of subway recordings up online. If you didn’t get a chance to attend, take a listen to “Reverend” I’ll be surprised if you don’t like what you hear. They’ve built up an audience in the area having played a Jammin Java and other local venues, and as their following has gotten big, I’m sure they’ll be back soon.
Sitting on Wolf Trap’s balcony level I had the perfect view of the stage, and realized there was no place I’d rather have been. I have many friends who are huge consumers of music, yet have never been to the barns because of the far commute from the city, and the misnomer that the space is too big. If you fit this description I highly encourage you get make the trek, the Barns space is intimate and small, very different from The Filene Center, and the musicians are worth it.
Running Time: Two hours, with one intermission.
Bombaldi and Pearl and the Beard WIth Special Guest Bombadil played for one night only on March 21, 2014 at The Barns at Wolf Trap – 1635 Trap Road, in Vienna, VA. For future events at Wolf Trap visit their calendar of performances and events.