A quiet crowd gathered at the High Noon Saloon on Tuesday night to see musicians from far and wide join for a raw and soul-stirring show.
Opener Hope Simulator gathered the audience’s attention by placing their vocalist at a small table beside the sound booth, only to be joined by a drummer and guitarist on stage. It confused those watching as to where to keep their gaze, but it ultimately drew them in with their jam-like performance.
Australian-based singer Gordi then took the stage with a seemingly simpler approach. Donned in monochrome to match her jet-black hair, she picked up her guitar and took to the mic. Reaching for difficult chords, she quieted the audience with her soulful melodies of love that wasn’t able to “work it out.” She chose certain lyrics to emphasize, and to show off the power behind her low voice which had a masculine quality to it.
She was alone on stage, having traveled without her band members. However, there was one giddy audience member, front and center, who harmonized along to her every intimate word. When she sat at the piano, Gordi impressed her audience further by using live voice modification to loop and grow her sound, layering with auto-tune, similar to Bon Iver. Holding the crowd’s silence with every diary-esque lyric, Gordi completed her melancholy set with an upbeat song on her guitar.
Next, S. Carey and his three bandmates filled the stage, walking on with that easy-going Wisconsin warmth. The crowd greeted them with immense cheer. S. Carey followed in the openers’ tracks with a thoughtful performance that quieted the audience, filling the lyrics with emotion and the spaces between songs with joy. Gordi was invited on stage for most of the show, providing backup vocals to match Carey’s. Near the end of the set, she lead a song of her own with Carey on stage.
The band shuffled around, swapping instruments like literal musical chairs and performing tracks off of their recently released third album, Hundred Acres. They also made time to please fans with a few songs from Range of Light, with the pedal steel guitarist eagerly choosing “Fire-scene” as their much-desired encore.
Carey kept his dialogue joyful and light, speaking of ramen noodles they enjoyed before the show and calling out to his family members watching from the balcony. “Wisco proud,” he said as he thanked his relatives. Wisconsin is indeed proud of one of their own. As Carey continues to create remarkable music, he also fosters a strong sense of community while doing so.