CONCERT REVIEW: The Morning Benders

[Photo by Misha Vladimirsky via CULTURE BULLY] PELLE GUNTHER Walking into the First Unitarian Church last night, the first trickling breathy vocals from the singer for Twin Sister welcomed us in. To be honest, her distinctive vocals alone would have gotten them a good review. As these beautiful, crooning vocals drifted towards me, my mind was instantly taken to the voice of Joanna Newsom. Though much more raspy and airy than Newsom’s, they still held that same sense of childhood and freedom; instead of beautiful harp music for a backdrop, Twin Sister chose to go the way of an 80s band gone dream pop.

Well, if you can’t already tell, I was impressed. Impressed to the point that I’m tempted to say that they were as good or better than The Morning Benders. This is by no means saying The Morning Benders were bad, in fact far from it. Just that Twin Sister, with their second EP Color Your Life, blew me away. They played a healthy set of dreamy beautiful tunes, and retired with the hit “All Around and Away We Go.” However to be nitpicky, they still had that unpolished shoe feeling to them, but that was completely unnoticeable until contrasted against the highly polished Morning Benders.

As Twin Sister exited, an adorable elderly woman in a wheelchair was given passage to the front to see her grandsons play in their band. (Later in the night I saw this woman walking around without her chair, which leads me to believe it was just a clever means to the front). The Morning Benders started right out with the intro violin from their song Excuses off their new LP Big Echo. This had everyone cheering wildly only to be surprised by a different tune from the same album called Wet Cement. It was like they were taunting us. For their second song they played Cold War, for which the drummer replaced one of his sticks with a maraca, which was to be a common occurrence through the night.

They sound like a rocker met a folk singer who in turn went and found himself a little doo-op. Playing a very solid set, including a Fleetwood Mac cover as well as a segway into Garden Grove by Sublime, which they remarked after would probably be the only time they play that one. To my excitement they reached back and played a few from their old cd, despite declaring that the whole night would be Big Echo. The set finished with Excuses, leaving the crowd waving lighters and singing along until a noise rock freak out drowned all audible sounds. For their encore they played what would be the highlight of my night, a brand new track known as The River. Between The Morning Benders and Twin Sister it was an experience well worth the $12. Presents: The Morning Benders “Stitches” from Yours Truly on Vimeo.

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