By Matt Clark, guest blogger

The show last night was absolutely amazing. Got there an hour early to make sure we were close to the stage, and stood outside for over an hour until 20 minutes after the doors were supposed to be open before anyone else showed up and they finally opened the doors.

The Henry Clay People put on a great show and i really enjoyed their sound. They reminded me a bit of The 88, but maybe a bit less bouncy. I loved the briefcases they used as pedal boards, and halfway through the set they begged anyone in the audience to let them stay at their house, as they hadn’t had to pay for a hotel room since leaving LA in January. Their set was very short though, only about 40 minutes.

After them it was Alberta Cross, who were a stark contrast to The Henry Clay People. Their equipment was very professional and expensive looking. The lead singer was playing a beautiful Gretsch with gold hardware. They were very good, with a harder sound infused with blues. They played a couple of slow songs that i didn’t particularly enjoy though.

Then the sound man came out to post the setlists and we immediately got a picture of one to see what songs they would be playing. Four new songs!!!! We also commented on the notes beside each song that made things easier on Mikel’s voice.

They opened with the first four songs of the album, in order, then played four new songs starting with Echo Park, which is absolutely amazing! Then they followed with Girls in their Summer Dresses, which is very good. After they played two new songs i hadn’t heard of, Letter to Georgia and “Horses” which may be a shortened title. They had a great sound, but it was also a step forward from the material on the album. If these are the sounds of the new album, then i am very excited for them to release it. Then they finished with “Nowhere”, Sometime around midnight, and Innocence, which they played the extended version of, which was a real treat to hear live. Then they stormed off the stage too quickly to make us believe it was over, even though they had no encore marked on the setlist.

After five minutes of tuning the guitars, Daren and Mikel came back on stage, followed by Steven and Anna. Noah was the last one back on, and delivered a heartfelt dedication of the set and the entire night to his lost loved one. They then proceeded to bring the house down with an electric rendition of “Moving On” which started with Mikel and Anna standing on the stage barrier directly over top of us and ended with Anna jumping into the crowd and dancing with Drew!!!! After everyone was back on the stage safe and sound, they played the intro to “Missy” as Noah pulled all of his young cousins out of the audience and onto the stage to take part in the festivities. Then they played an extended version of the song, which included solos from everyone, introduction of all Noah’s cousins and Anna jumping on top of the speakers at the back of the stage, almost 10 feet off the ground!!! It was an amazing performance to say the least.

We got signatures from everyone but Mikel, (who stayed backstage to rest up) talked with everyone, got pictures with Anna and Steven, a drumstick from Daren and a guitar pick from Steven, along with TWO setlists. Noah talked with us for a few minutes, told us where he got those white shoes from (eBay) and told us he couldn’t wait to see us again in New York. It was a crazy, tiring, insane night to say the very least. So i hope that gives you some idea of what the new tour is like. They even have tour shirts now, we picked up a couple, and issued the album on vinyl, purchased by yours truly and signed by everyone but Mikel. Hope you are doing well, hope this gets you even more excited for your shows…

[Didn’t think I *could* get any more excited, but um… yes. A few quick notes on the new songs – “Echo Park” is indeed new, first performed (I think?) at the L.A. show back on February 12. “Letter to Georgia”, also new (or at least, new to audiences)… I believe its first appearance may have been in Cardiff on February 1 (can anyone confirm?). Horses is “Goodbye Horses”, a cover of a song by Q. Lazzarus. And “Girls in their Summer Dresses” (based on a short story by Irwin Shaw) was actually on the first version of their 3-song EP (pre-album release, sold at shows).

For some truly lovely videos of Echo Park and Letter to Georgia, see below. Many thanks to okeastron2008 and RightAsRayne for these wonderful recordings. And a *huge* thank you to Matt for the awesome review!!

Echo Park

Letter To Georgia

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