On a freezing January night in Keene, one coffee house stands out as a beacon of culture for all the twenty-somethings who populate the city. The Starving Artist is known for hosting shows for a low fee of $5 at the door and provides a much needed haunt for the local and not-so-local bands to play. Up until show time, members of the bands mingle in the crowd; the stage is simply a rug surrounded by instruments and pillar speakers.
A lone table surrounded by chairs is quickly snatched up by groups. The twang from a guitar took place of dimming the lights in this bohemian theater. The first chord put the members of the audience under a spell as the first band began their set. Moga, a band from Clayville, R.I., opened the show with sounds stemming from Pink Floyd and Howlin’ Wolf.
[singlepic id=721 w=320 h=240 float=right]
Their unique sound of guitar and piano chords complementing each other sent waves through the audience, incurring movement and dance. Rough harmonies are a staple of Moga, providing some haunting melodies that were felt by the viewers. The table, originally fought over, is soon abandoned for the standing room surrounding the band. More songs made for a great show as the audience responded to each, singing along where they could and shouting along when it was applicable.
The last song took everyone by surprise as it started slowly and ended with everyone wailing away in a crescendo heard three blocks away. In 10 minutes their instruments were whisked away and the population squeezed out the front door to smoke cigarettes and mingle as The Mild Revolution set up the stage.
A Keene local band, TMR has played at The Starving Artist before and all around Keene. They advertised this show as an acoustic set, and as they were getting situated they reminded the audience to keep quiet because of the fact. It was clear how local the band was as they joked with members of the crowd while setting up. The lead singer, Morgan Little, opened the show with a few words thanking the Starving Artist for hosting them again, and thanked their friends for their support.
Then he began the show with a song called “The Devil’s Son.” Their quiet, intimate sound inspired a feeling of wanting to listen to this music outside of the setting of “right now.” Reminiscent of Mumford and Sons, the Mild Revolution provides an interesting take on the British band’s sound, creating something new with different influences.
The crowd was instantly enthralled by the band, inching ever closer toward the musicians.
Little asserted his authority over the venue, walking through the crowd howling the chorus at the top of his lungs and holding his guitar over his head. A crowd has never reacted so well to a band, shouting and stomping along with the band members, enjoying every minute of it. As the night went on, the Mild Revolution begged the owners of the café to let them play more songs, but were politely refused, and too were whisked off stage in a flurry of instruments and flannel shirts.
Five minutes later Smith&Weeden was onstage, complete with guitars worn through their paint jobs by years of practice.
This is illustrated again by the intricate finger pickings of the two lead guitarists. Their mood was infectious, their dances mimicked by the crowd, and their choruses echoed. The three bands sounded perfectly together, each highlighting an aspect of another. In an interview after the show, guitarist Matt Caputo explained a bit about the band, The Mild Revolution.
He said he began playing music early, starting piano in elementary school. By freshman year at Keene State College he played guitar, bass, and drums. He met Morgan Little in Carle Hall their freshman year, played guitar one night in their kitchen, and have been playing together ever since.
Over the next two years, they went through a few band members until they landed Joshua Hallengren on bass, Dan O’Rourke on keys, and Tim Stone on percussion.
The Mild Revolution has one CD out of a live concert and all their music is available on www.myspace.com/themildrevolutionrock.
Augustus Stahl can be contacted at email@example.com.