by Maddie Hayes
All of the seats were full last Tuesday night. In fact, more chairs were brought out to seat the stragglers wandering in. The audience sat in anticipation of what they knew was coming: an evening full of enchanting music.
On Feb. 15, Los Angeles, California-based indie pop band Lady Danville, graced the Multi-Purpose Room stage in the Pence Union Building at Eastern Washington University. They played in support of the slightly more well-known bands He Is We and Barcelona. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves, because sometimes the first course is just as sweet as the dessert.
My first emotion upon seeing the band members walk on stage was worry. I’ll admit, sometimes the three-piece thing doesn’t always work. These days, it seems a lot of bands with only three members have a hard time creating a full sound with only a few working bodies to play the instruments. Thankfully, Lady Danville breaks this mold.
The talented percussionist plas a big part in their success; he is unbelievable. Before the band commenced their 45 minute set, I thought to myself, “That’s not a complete drum set.” I was wrong. In the common usage of the phrase “drum set,” I would have been correct, but there wasn’t a single sound lacking.
Matthew Frankel, the drummer for Lady Danville, used an instrument called a “cajon,” in addition to other, more traditional drums. Commonly called a “box drum,” it is essentially a drum you sit on and play with your hands. Frankel even used his hands on the snare, tom drum, and cymbal at times, an uncommon technique creating a unique sound.
A highlight of the set was most definitely Lady Danville’s cover song. Audiences who aren’t familiar with a band always appreciate hearing a familiar song, even if it’s been manipulated. Lady Danville played the popular indie dance song, “Kids,” by MGMT. A few claps and screams after the first couple notes meant the crowd was digging it.
How often does a band successfully folk-ify a dance number? It’s extremely rare for me to say this: I actually got chills during this song. Their three-part harmonies were spot on, so much so, it was actually kind of scary. It was still the “Kids” we all know and love, but reinvented in such a way that something completely new was created.
Another thing to appreciate about Lady Danville: All of the members can actually sing, quite well, in fact. I mentioned their three-part harmonies on “Kids,” but they featured a combination of three lovely voices on each and every song. They switched up the lead vocals every once and a while, which kept things interesting and unexpected.
Keys player, Michael Garner, busted out a harmonica and ukulele for a special song where all three members stood around one microphone to serenade with a love song, which I’m pretty sure mentioned literally getting stabbed in the back. It made the show seem quite personal, despite the large room, which is not easy to accomplish.
For a band that formed in 2007, it’s hard to believe they’re not more well known, considering they’ve been at this for four years. Hearing the amount of cheering after their set means some new fans were made at EWU.
Rebecca Meyer, senior at Whitworth, is one of those new fans.
“Lady Danville was an unexpected surprise. I really liked how they sounded similar to bands that I love, like Steel Train,” Meyer said. “They’re definitely the kind of band that I will look up afterwards and track them down to listen to their music.”