June 24, 2011 in Features

Civil Wars hits A Club; MYH at Checkerboard

By The Spokesman-Review
 

The A Club has always catered to a broad range of genres, from hip-hop emcees such as Rod Mac to heavy metal acts like The Sword.

One thing most of the shows there have in common is volume. So it might seem like a change of a pace to a have a minimalist folk duo such as The Civil Wars headlining at the downtown Spokane bar on Saturday night.

With their sparse, voice- and guitar-based sound, Joy Williams and John Paul White have been making rumblings on a national level. One of their songs appeared in the foreground during a climactic montage on TV’s “Grey’s Anatomy,” and they’ve been name-dropped in Taylor Swift’s tweets.

The Civil Wars are winning over audiences one battle at a time.

“In a way TV is the new radio for artists like us. We were instantly heard by millions of people who watch a show like that,” White said of the “Grey’s Anatomy” exposure during a telephone interview.

Williams was brought up in Northern California on a variety of pop music, while White’s Southern upbringing informs his retro country style. They use their polarizing qualities to complement each other musically.

“I never expected to collaborate with someone who is completely opposite from me in a lot of ways, from the types of music we listen to, to our geographic upbringing, the food we ate, the way we were raised. … Therein, I think, is the strength of what we have going,” White said.

The Civil Wars appear with Rayland Baxter on Saturday at 8:30 p.m. at The A Club, 416 W. Sprague Ave. Tickets are $12 in advance, $15 the day of the show, through www.aclubspokane.com.

Horse of a different color

If a folk duo is not what you’d expect at A Club on Saturday night, then the same could be said for a math-rock out-of-towner appearing at the Checkerboard Tavern on a Sunday night.

But live music is becoming more frequent at the Checkerboard, even for obscure prog-rockers such as Vancouver, B.C.’s Man Your Horse.

The trio’s fourth release, the “Shorts EP,” is 50/50 instrumental and vocal experimental rock that also is equal parts intricate rhythms and danceable beats.

“Sometimes the vocals add a limitation,” said drummer Scott Petrie during a telephone interview.

“We’re allowing ourselves to rely more on the instrumentation so the arrangements can be more complex. When you’re singing and playing guitar you have to make concessions so there is room for vocals.”

Man Your Horse plays Sunday at 9 p.m. at the Checkerboard, 1716 E. Sprague Ave. Cover is $5.


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