Built to Spill – Never Be the Same
There’s something pleasantly familiar about the bass line of this track from Built to Spill, and sometimes that’s what you want. BTS and I have a weird history, in that I got into them late, listened to them a fair amount, and then subconsciously stopped when they ended up being the soundtrack to me getting robbed while on a crowded bus in San Francisco’s Chinatown. I’ll never be the same, but it might be time to be different again.
Built to Spill hits Madison’s High Noon Saloon on May 26th. More dates here.
Charles Bradley & His Extraordinaires brought soul, funk, and sequins to the High Noon Saloon on December 4, 2013. The victim of love himself shouted and shimmied his way through two sets and an encore, often proclaiming his love for the crowd and even stepping offstage to hug his fans. Click on any photo below to see more shots from the night, or follow this link.
Caroline Smith has been very popular in Madison, and for years I’ve been on the outside looking in. I first saw Smith with her band The Goodnight Sleeps at the High Noon Saloon a couple of years ago and was so bored that I actually went to go sit down in the back. I tend to be overly picky about female singers, and women in the singer-songwriter category almost never are a hit with me. I saw the band again after the release of Little Wind and while there was a song or two that wasn’t bad I still just couldn’t get excited about Caroline Smith the way so many of my friends did.
Smith released a new album, Half About Being a Woman, in October and it was reported that her sound was markedly different. When I saw she was opening for Charles Bradley & His Extraordinaires at the High Noon Saloon on December 4, 2013 I thought I should give her another look.
What I’d heard was right – she has taken a new approach to her style. Most notably she’s replaced her band and moved from acoustic to electric. The more robust instrumentation allows Smith to push her voice and for the first time I noticed how lovely it really is. While some remnants of her shared past with Haley Bonar and Colbie Caillat remain, the new material references soul and 90s R&B. Generally Smith seems to have left some of the wide-eyed earnestness behind and has embraced fun – her set was full of smiles and dancing and even a few of Kendrick Lamar’s verses. I’m still not head over heels for Smith, but I can say that I’ll no longer skip her set when she’s on the bill.
Caroline Smith returns to Madison & the High Noon on January 16, 2013 as part of FRZN Fest.
See more photos from her December show here.
You can find more from Caroline Smith here.