Noah Gunderson, The Wild Reeds and Angelo De Augustine @ The Chapel

11/25/2014
Angelo De Augustine would probably say this was his worst show ever. But between apologies for being sick, coughs, and gulps of water, Angelo gave the most sincere, vulnerable performance of the night. Opening for a crowd that’s clearly there for guitar-driven indie folk-rock when your¬†message must be conveyed in a whisper and a warble isn’t something I’d wish on anyone. Despite talking through most of his set, though, the crowd tried to be encouraging, and clapped hard for an opener they could barely hear above the martini shaker. Angelo’s music is quietly ambitious, weaving a world equally home to Elliott Smith, Hobbits, Elves, and Jose Gonzales. It is very much his own, and he deftly draws you into it. There’s no doubt he’ll be in town next as a headliner.

Check out a track from Angelo’s newly released album, Spirals of Silence:

The Wild Reeds are an energetic folk-rock quintet that clearly love what they do. Their harmonies are lovely and the instrumentation is compelling. Backed by a drummer and bassist, the three front-women Kinsey, Mack, and Sharon, switch instruments, lead vocals and songwriting, leaving one to assume the lead vocalist is singing her own work. Sharon’s songs seemed to have more depth and complexity. “Blind and Brave,” the title track of their album, is dedicated to struggling in the city of Los Angeles and was their most powerful performance of the night.

Check out the music video for “Blind and Brave:”

Seattle-based musician Noah Gundersen‘s shoes tell a story as much as his music does. He’s traveled all over, and he’s got the salt stains to prove it. His voice was drinking whiskey and smoking cigarettes before he was even born. At 24, he’s on his sixth album (if you include the two with his band The Courage), and his musicianship is tight. Noah’s sister Abby on strings and brother Jonathan on drums clearly know what they are doing and take otherwise simple songwriting and craft them into songs. Noah’s approach is humorless, laying down verses with a weight and seriousness that leave little room for wonder and curiosity. One of his songs got real close to the melody in Roxette’s “Listen to Your Heart.” If he were Glen Hansard (of The Frames and Swell Season), he would have taken a moment to break into a brief cover before finishing out the song.¬†Noah Gunderson is clearly a talented singer and musician, but if he could learn to laugh at himself a bit more onstage, he’d be an even better performer. This show at The Chapel marks one of the last stops on Gunderson’s tour of his album Ledges, which was released in February.

Listen to the title track from Ledges:

By Aimee Inglis

Photos by Gracie Malley