Live review: Futurebirds @ the Larimer LoungeBy Brendan Magee | February 20th, 2012 | 2 comments
The short answer is that they are still putting in work. Because while the sextet made strong waves in 2010 at South By Southwest and at last summer’s Bonnaroo, they are still building an audience. To their credit, most of the room was made of fans already sold on the music. The rest looked ready to buy in after the first few electric blows hit the PA system.
Hailing from one of indie music’s favorite southern cities, Athens, Ga., the band brings a refreshing live energy with them, and when four of six members can sing and sing well together, the product is a crashing, seemingly possessed turn on the country genre, but it is in order. Supporting 2010s “Hampton’s Lullaby” Futurebirds laid down rockers, “Ski Chalet,” “Johnny Utah,” and “APO” grabbing concertgoers by the collar — though an air-tight four-part harmony will do that.
The band: Thomas Johnson, Payton Bradford, Carter King, Brannen Miles, Daniel Womack and Dennis Love make up the road-tested ensemble. Love may not sing, but he made the pedal steel guitar sound uplifting and haunting, anchoring the band to its southern roots. Drummer Payton Bradford took an opportunity early on to stand up and belt out “Red Top Girl” off of 2009s self-titled LP, re-released in 2011 titled, “Via Flamina.”
The long answer to the question of the night is that Futurebirds have some shoes to fill. Not only in stepping out from the obvious shadow of Athens’ sons R.E.M. and Drive-by Truckers, but more immediately from the muddled genres of indie-rock and alt-country.
Brendan Magee is a Denver-based writer and new contributor to Reverb. When not writing, Brendan is working on his own music as a singer-songwriter in Capitol Hill.