This fall there are a few shows that I’ll attend either largely or solely because of the opening act; this was the first of those shows.
Opener: Kyle Craft
For those who are not avid readers of this blog and don’t already know about Kyle Craft and his band, Showboat Honey, check them out. Think of a unique and vital mix of glam rock that would befit Los Angeles in 1972 and southern folk rock roots. Kyle, a native Louisianan, crafts (see what I did there) stories that pull you in and are accompanied with music that can inspire the listener to think, dance, or mope.
However, on this night, Kyle (the reason my crew and I showed up, with all due respect to Mr. Cauthen) was a solo act. Initially this bummed me out quite a bit, because his backing band is not only loose and fun but provides (obviously) another element to Kyle’s vocals and songwriting. It didn’t take long for me to change my mind and I ended up grateful that it was a solo acoustic set – holy shit this guy has some pipes on him! Not to mention some top-shelf bleached finger in a light socket lettuce, which looked ridiculously badass sticking out of that hat.
About two songs in, I could hear – and see – numerous Cauthen fans transform from oblivious about Kyle’s existence to avid fans. He literally took a crowd that was indifferent at best (loud and drunk is more apt) and converted them in less than ten minutes. Rock on Kyle, and come back soon, with or without your crew. Please.
Headliner: Paul Cauthen
Paul Cauthen is an underground country hero, with a considerable cult following that nearly sold out the venue. While I will absolutely not argue that the man has a voice that commands attention, with a deep baritone that flirts closely into Cash territory, I just can’t get behind any significant chunk of his music. On this night, he was fine, playing the eccentric/weird card to the fullest.
Their first song, “Holy Ghost Fire”, is one of his finest and got things off to a promising start. Unfortunately, as they continued on, I became less and less interested. His band was up to the task, but after a few songs we agreed we had seen enough and filed out, still mesmerized by Kyle and hoping that the next time we see him, it is in a headlining scenario.
As we climbed down the stairwell and out into a cold early fall night on Main St., the last thing we heard was Paul bitching and whining (without a trace of irony) that the shots someone had bought and had sent up to he and his band onstage were Fireball. Stay classy, Paul.