Friday night, in anticipation for the Early Eyes set that was quickly approaching, fans shuffled into The Sett to hear face-melting music. As mind tickling as Des Lawrence may be on the bass, he was only one small part of all the fun that was the Early Eyes concert.
The concert started off with an intoxicating opener, Camp Friends, a Madison-based semi-psychedelic, indie-rock band. They played a powerful set, with dreamy and insightful original songs including “Teardrops,” “Inside” and “Outside.” Additionally, they played a cover Mac Demarco’s “Ode to Viceroy.” With Tony Holmes on guitar and vocals, Kam Kudick banging the drums, Benny Koziol tapping the keys, Oliver Gerber strumming his guitar and John Lenz plucking the bass, the band came together really well, despite their minimal amount of practice time together (neither Oliver nor John live in Madison). What really makes this band stand out is Holmes’ stage presence. He’s constantly moving around the stage with an otherworldly passion, fully immersed in the music, radiating love and psychedelic energy with his intoxicating dance moves, wild facial gestures, and clever lyrics. It’s is unfair to talk about the awesomeness of Camp Friends without mentioning Cam Kudick. Kudick has expert drumming skills, playing seemingly effortlessly, as he strings together complicated drum beats and calls out to the crowd with his compelling asolos. All and all, our friends in Camp Friends put together a great opening act for the juice that was to come next.
The good times rolled on as Minneapolis-based outfit Early Eyes took the stage. The raggedy, soulful voice of singer & guitarist Jake Berglove and razor sharp bass solos of Des Lawrence quickly broke the crowd from its intermission dormancy and set damn near everyone to dancing. In a word, Early Eyes’ performance was tight. Guitar licks punctuated each other like clockwork. The drumming of Wyatt Fuller was driving and infectious — tapping of feet and nodding of heads was all too natural under his direction. Des Lawrence deserves especial praise for his work on bass. The band also recognized his skill when they knelt and gave him full command of the stage during one of his solos, which was downright funkadelic. The night was over far too quickly as Early Eyes finished up with two of their best songs “Coffee” and “Waste of Time.” The lighthearted and joyous atmosphere spilled over the end of the concert as the band took to conversation with the crowd. Overall, the night was marked by a joyful, charmed crowd jamming to two great bands, and it was all over too soon.