By: Derek Jung
It's a rare occasion when Joseph and I get to see the same band within such a short span of time. He was able to see St. Paul and the Broken Bones at the legendary Ryman Auditorium last month. On Friday, I had the pleasure of seeing them at Madison Theater, their first show in Cincinnati since their capacity crowd show at the Taft Theater Ballroom during Midpoint Music Festival in 2014. Similarly to that show, Friday's show was sold out. The band is touring off their great new album, Sea of Noise, and I was eagerly anticipating hearing the new material live.
One thing I knew to expect was the antics of lead singer Paul Janeway, easily the heart and soul of the band with some of the best pipes that I've heard in a live setting ever. The dude can flat out belt it, and he knows it to. Therein lies the problem. A lot of his stage performance consists of him responding to the cheering of the crowd, and he makes sure to take out his earpiece after most songs to bask in that glorious, glorious applause. Nothing wrong with feeding off the energy of the crowd, but I couldn't help but get the feeling that it was a constant ego trip for Janeway, but I could be wrong. He was, of course, brilliant, and the new material sounded absolutely fantastic. My favorite song on the album, "All I Ever Wonder" popped on stage. Many songs sounded like church, a bonafide spiritual experience (see: "Sanctify" and set closer "Burning Rome").
I still think some of their ballads, especially from their debut album, can drag after a while, but that is a rather nitpicky criticism from what was a solid performance from the band.
Check out their performance of "All I Ever Wonder" from Later... with Jools Holland below.
By: Joseph Kathmann
Wow. What a show. While this may be my first show of 2017, I think it may be hard for anyone to top it. I do believe the venue played a major part in this, but I think a lot of it was also the band themselves. There's something special about the band's frontman, Paul Janeway, when he takes the stage. Before I knew it, I felt like I was back in the early days of this legendary venue with a rowdy crowd of people looking to de-stress after a hard day's work. When I moved to Nashville almost two years ago, this was what I envisioned the shows would be like.
Following their strong sophomore album, which Derek and I both enjoyed, this tour has been something of a coming out party for the band. The show started with opener William Tyler bringing in some traditional country tunes. It was something of a weak opener, which is a shame because William Tyler has been pretty influential around town in Nashville, but this crowd was simply not his demographic. He was also pretty nervous playing at the Ryman, but by the end of the show his nerves were gone and he played some upbeat country tunes that got the crowd's attention at least for a bit. I think he made the best of his situation, but for most of his set he sadly failed to get the attention of the crowd, and thus they didn't hesitate to talk over his set.
Fortunately, all that changed when St. Paul & The Broken Bones took the stage. The crowd, largely white and of which I was probably the youngest one, initially sat in the bleachers through the first half of the set. It did make for a goosebump-inducing moment when the crowd gave him a standing ovation for "Like a Mighty River," many people, myself included, were getting frustrated with the idea of sitting throughout this high energy-performance. I think Paul Janeway could sense this, and a few times he asked the crowd to get up and dance for a song. While this tactic didn't really work, as the set went on and the band increased their energy levels, they eventually forced the crowd up and then.....it was on. The rowdy energy in the Ryman was undeniable as the crowd cheered and uncontrollably banged on the bleachers throughout the final few songs and the encore, and the band responded to this in kind. It really was pretty awesome to see and be apart of that, and everyone left the show feeling like they had just seen a show at the Mother Church as it was intended. St. Paul & The Broken Bones are a perfect band to see at The Ryman, and even though the crowd was calm at first, the atmosphere eventually took hold and I found myself in the middle of one of the coolest shows I had ever seen.
Who are we?
Derek Jung and Joseph Kathmann -- Just two ordinary (debatable) guys that love talking about music. You can read more about us here: