Doing something a little different today -- here's video I shot from Breathe Owl Breathe's show Thursday, April 15 at the Tractor Tavern in Ballard. It's an OWY and YouTube exclusive!
I'm sure I've championed this plucky folk band from Northern Michigan before, but last week was my first chance to see them live. They opened for Megafaun and Horse Feathers at the Tractor. (I was too lame and an old man to stay for the latter two sets, and so can't offer a report.) You'll hear some chatter through this recording, but overall the reception at the Tractor was pretty strong -- enough that they came back for an encore, a rarity for an opening band (in my experience, at least). Lead singer Micah Middaugh -- whose voice could pass for Bill Callahan on an endorphin kick -- dropped references to Shawn Kemp and Gary Payton into one of his songs, which is a thing that I can love. The show was part concert, part summer camp -- they guided us through the typical clap-and-response but also the wave and a sabertooth-tiger dance that involved sticking your hands to the sides of your face and rolling the index fingers downward to form tusks. It was silly and goofball and altogether wonderful.
I picked up their most recent album on vinyl at the show and have given it a couple playthroughs, and I'm pretty high on it. Their songs take these seemingly mundane slices of everyday life and breathe a heartwrenching honesty into them. I think that's a good way to describe them, is honest, and I would not be surprised if many of their songs were inspired by personal experience, a chance encounter or a childhood memory. And then they also have their songs about sabertooth tigers escaping from glaciers to go out dancing (which itself was probably inspired by a trip to the museum of natural history).
And what's this? A Daytrotter session from three days ago?