Good bands play a room the same way whether there is one person or ten thousand people. Dreamers of the Ghetto are a good band. Playing to about twenty people at The Frequency in Madison, Wisconsin on February 23rd, 2012, the band easily could have been on stage at a much larger venue. Their songs fill the room and when they relax so does their enthusiasm.
Influenced by the vaguely-gothy 80s, the music and the band members themselves have a somewhat serious front – there’s not a whole lot of movement on stage and one is more likely to step-sway than pogo to show their enjoyment. As the show progressed, though, things loosened up. After having to restart their excellent single “Connection“, keyboard player and vocalist Lauren Jones mimicked the last line of the previous song, an endearing move.
A major strength for Dreamers of the Ghetto is that they’re closer than the average band in their personal lives – Lauren is married to lead singer and bassist Luke Jones, and the guitar player is Luke’s brother, Jonathan. Drummer Marty Sprawls completes the lineup. The Everly Brothers have had their impeccable harmonies attributed to their being brothers, and a similar situation seems to be at play with DotG. The blend between brothers, in-laws, and husband and wife is lovely. Luke’s voice is raspy and cavernous, Lauren’s strong, Jonathan’s smooth.
The Jones’s vocal compatibility was most prevalent on their best song of the night, “Phone Call“. While a strong cut on the album, it was more remarkable live. Rearranging on stage to crowd in among the keyboards, the members played off each other and relaxed. Dancing and clapping, they gave themselves completely over to the music. Jonathan had a chance to bring his voice to the forefront and it was beautiful and surprising. Luke’s ability to sing soulful high notes is hinted at in the recorded version of the song but live he goes for the gusto with great success. They could easily perform this song five times in a row and it wouldn’t wear thin. While the band’s overall performance could be tweaked here and there, there’s little doubt their continued touring will land them better and better bills.