For The Lone Bellow, the songs, mainly penned by lead singer Zach Williams, are the launching pad. "Can't Be Happy for Long" from the new disc started the night before performing one of their most popular songs, "The One You Should Have Let Go," which just as well could have been a concert closer. The Lone Bellow apparently had confidence in the rest of their material.
For the most part, that was justified with lead and harmony vocals the strong point on such songs as the new "Come Break My Heart Again." Kanene Pipkin was a powerful weapon on backing and lead vocals, especially on "Deeper in the Water." While The Lone Bellow has three-part harmonies going, hers added a lot of texture to the sound while guitarist Brian Elmquist's vocals were hard to hear.
Elmquist was no slouch, as usual, on lead guitar either, adding a lot of bite, sometimes stinging. Elmquist also had one turn on lead vocals on "Long Way to Go," which finds hope out of the darkness.
With the more rocking edge to the new music, that also was where the music fell a bit short in that those songs did nothing to set The Lone Bellow apart. Call them good, but not much more than that, particularly in comparison to their typical material.
So perhaps not a perfect night, but the key ingredients that make The Lone Bellow a power live - the strong, emotional-laden vocals and harmonies amidst a bunch of quality songs - remain ever present.
The Wild Reeds preceded the headliners with another strong set as their stint at Newport Folk Festival in July proved the quintet to be a band of promise. The Los Angeles-based girl group '60s pop/indie folk band benefits from having three female lead singers. The best of the batch was Mackenzie Howe with a powerful set of chords. Kinsey Lee and Sharon Silva enhanced the delivery with their harmonies, while Silva colored the songs with keyboards.
"Fix You Up" and "Everything Looks Better (In Hindsight)" were among the best of the batch. There was much to like about the songs and delivery thereof.