By JESS PEREGOY
Tucked away in a forest of metal buildings and
warehouses, many local musicians shared their unique sounds with a small
audience March 28.
Walking into the building, the new home of Sweetfall
Productions, one might be surprised by the roomís appearance.
The wooden paneling, linoleum floor and trophy case looks
as if it serves as a meeting house for both older men and Boy Scouts as they
learn to tie knots.
However, on this particular Friday, amps, various guitars
and microphones were loaded in to make room for a night of music by Bethany
Raybourn, The Passing Lane, The Upstairs Divine, Midwest Caravan and Tyler
The night began with Raybourn, a sophomore art major
playing her soft-spoken originals with her acoustic guitar.
She was later joined by members of The Upstairs Divine,
for the first time, adding drums, keys, electric guitar and bass in the mix,
but never stealing the spotlight from the female front woman.
Raybournís naturally flushed cheeks, sweet demeanor and
casual between song banter could make even Jenny Lewis of Rilo Kiley jealous as
she played a cover of Broken Social Sceneís ďLoverís Spit.Ē
Raybourn was followed by the Passing Lane with a
performance that featured a soloist more concerned with the crowd talking than
getting the roomís attention with his been-done-a-million times Bright Eyes
The Passing Laneís set could not maintain the pace set
for the night and Rustonís Upstairs Divine took the wheel and brought the
momentum back with a flawless performance.
The Upstairs Divineís dynamic consistently improves,
causing each performance to feel like the best the band has ever played.
I wonít say the band sounds exactly like Eisley, who is a
major influence of the singer/guitarist/keyboardist/boy wonder Ben Jones.
This is mostly due to the fact that the band is not
fronted by three sisters, but the comparison between the bands is there.
Jones entranced the crowd with his vocal melodies while
Andrew Polk, on guitar, Weston Brown on bass and Austin Howe, a junior
sociology major, on drums helped Jones transition to full on sound, with
wailing guitars and harmonica thrown in for good measure.
As Tyler Read readied the stage, long time friend Sammy
Williams took the stage with a short set under his moniker, Midwest Caravan.
While Williamsí songs are also influenced by Bright Eyes
and Pedro the Lion alike, Williamís lyrics tell tales of cowboys and families
living life in his fantasy western world as he carefully strums on his guitar
while Tyler Read tuned guitars and plugged in amps.
The night was concluded with a set by headlining band,
Tyler Read, bringing new energy to the small stage Boy Scouts probably receive
merit badges on.
Tyler Read played as if the band was headlining a tour
where Fall Out Boy opened for them.
With their rock íní roll sing-a-longs and touches of
tambourine and even an appearance by John Adams, a senior art major, on lap
steel the set was energetic and refreshing.
Over the last few years, Tyler Read has transitioned from
a purple-Chuck Taylor-wearing, simple pop-rock band based on brothers Josh and
Jordan Johnsonís vocal harmonies† to
cowboy boot wearing rock Ďní rollers.
The addition of McPeters, a Tech graduate, brings an
incendiary guitar sound that beckons the ghosts of legendary band Queen and
relieves Josh Johnson of being held back by guitar as he shakes his hips and
spits out his tongue-in- cheek lyrics.
The band played a set with unshakable energy to a crowd
that did not even realize it as Tyler Read introduced new songs and laid the
ground work for what is to come for the band.
As Tyler Read left the stage sweaty and exhausted, the
crowd left the building and Sweetfall Productions began sweeping the floor and
removing all evidence of a rock íní roll show.
As I left, I couldnít help but wonder if the Boy Scouts I
imagined to meet there know who Tyler Read is.