I love getting the chance to enter a new venue and photograph the night's festivities. Seeing what the lighting is like, getting a feel for the local crowd, meeting the new security, and just in general getting acquainted with something different. On Friday night I had a chance to do that twice with Brighton Music Hall and Great Scott.
The night started off at Brighton Music Hall. It's a small venue with a great sound system. Attendees can take in the view from in front of the stage or along the left side of the stage. If they choose to they can also go hang at the back bar and play some pool while listening to the music. It's a fairly intimate venue and I'm excited to see plenty of more shows there.
The first act of the night was H.C. McEntire, who had a full band in tow, and won over the audience so much so that someone in the front row was told by H.C. that he was going with the band to their next stop to continue to show them love. Yes this one person was enthusiastic, but truly the whole crowd was on board. H.C. McEntire's songs require a lot of attention as her lyrics are potent and wonderfully written. The music swirling around her words is country, but not modern country. Her brand of country has roots in Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris, and others of that era of country. Just as those artists tend to do, both H.C. McEntire and her band ramped up the rock and roll qualities of her songs as the set wore on, much to the crowd's delight.
Next up was Pedro the Lion, which was a 180 degree turn musically from H.C. McEntire. The band has only been touring again since 2017, but they are running on all cylinders. A few songs into the evening David Bazan welcomed everyone in, made some jokes, talked briefly about politics, and then said enough of that and went right back into the music. The crowd passionately sung the lyrics right back to David the whole night. Unfortunately I had to duck out part way into the show to get over to the next venue, which thankfully enough was only down the street.
That second was show was over at Great Scott, which is a mix of a venue and dive bar. There's plenty of room for dancing and enjoying the music. The lighting leaves a little to be desired, but sometimes that doesn't matter. This night was one of those as The Shacks absolutely tore the house down. Their blend of surf rock, shoegaze, blues, and psychedelia made for the perfect Friday night late-night music option. These are four hungry young musicians who are ready to take it to the next level. Don't sleep on them as they play these small rooms as I doubt they will be in them for long!