Callers- Aaron Wojack Photo
It's a relief to stand in front of a band that isn't bullshitting you. The unassuming trio from Brooklyn known simply as Callers, not The Callers, are no bullshitters. If there was a contest to pick out who the professional musicians were in this tightly packaged space, even with these three holding their instruments, my guess is on the overly anxious pretty boy who is standing by the door and his gang of merry men. Even though they don't look the part, Callers don't look out of place as they delicately perch themselves on the tiny stage flanked with Christmas lights, one of the many little things that make Kilby Court a magical venue.
There is no bullshit small talk, only a demure gesture to turn the lights down, as Sara Lucas holds the microphone to her lips and begins to serenade the surprisingly attentive crowd with Life of Love, the first single and title track off their new record. Lucas's voice is best fit for a velvet gown and a smokey Vegas Lounge and as the raw power of her bluesy bellows escape, it transforms the overly stuffed garage nestled in a cropping of trees into just that. Maybe it's the breeze of the first warm day of spring coming from the open door, kissing our skin or the awesome reverence that you so rarely find in a crowd when bands demand somber attention, but this night feels electric.
I am really into the set. Each song is flowing like water into the next, and they keep it simple by playing mostly songs from the new album. Lucas sways back and forth, closing her eyes and slowly caresses each note as it escapes her mouth. She only halts the groovy jams to remark on the awesomeness of the venue. To say she is in love is a bold statement, but I feel comfortable making the accusation because I, myself, feel this way and she just about loses her shit when the fire pit comes to life and embraces us all with the promise of promptly having to go home to wash the smell of camping from our hair.
Don Godwin, who does a mighty fine job dusting those drums, (I can't be the only person on the planet who makes that comparison, jazz drummers merely dust) and Ryan Seaton, who plays a mean guitar keeping the jams progressing forward, do little more than nod in agreement with Lucas, but its suits the whole dynamic of the band just fine. She is the ring leader, commanding an entire room of all ages, and I mean ALL ages, I somehow missed the memo on family night at Kilby Court, but each face was turned to the stage unable to look away from Lucas with no other instrument than those sultry pipes.
As they wrap up their set and begin to pull their equipment to the side and out the back door the densely dry kid to my left, who has been over-sharing his opinion all night, offers a brief moment of clarity with the observation “Man..that band is just going to be unstoppable,” to which I find myself nodding in agreement. After a surprisingly brief break and the calming numb I feel from Callers, Wye Oak’s gruesome twosome takes the stage. Wye Oak's sound is larger and more involved than seems possible from the delicate frames of Jenn Washer, singer/guitarist and Andy Stack, drummer. Yet they manage to successfully shake the wall with their amazingly loud breakdowns that shred. Washer manages to howl and smile through each and every song which signals to me that she truly loves what she does—again, no bullshit here. When they start Plains, a personal favorite from their new release Civilian, I can’t help but fall in love with the magic of every perfect sensation happening and the realization that this night truly has been electric, beginning to end.