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The Western Polaroids host a helluva gig

A live review from the Pour House, Sun. Oct. 25

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Lindsay Holler's Western Polaroids,
Tent Revival

The Pour House
Oct. 25

They promised an 8 p.m. on-the-dot start time, but, inevitably, things struck up at a more respectable rock 'n' roll hour on Sunday night as Lindsay Holler's Western Polaroids celebrated the official landing of a collection.

The fuzzy-faced four-piece band Tent Revival, fronted by singer/songwriter Owen Beverly, kicked off the main stage gig with a handful of surprisingly powerful and dynamic originals.

Looking like a woolly character from the Woodstock film, Atlanta-based electric guitarist, vocalist, and cellist Bryan Gibson switched from his Les Paul to the cello with ease. He and Beverly shaped the songs with alternating lead, industrial-strength riffs, and heavy-handed rhythm work. Bassist Matt Heath locked in tightly with New York-based drummer Benji Lee, who pounded the three-piece kit so fluently he split the bass drum head open by song three (oh, the joys of duct tape repair). One highlight of the set featured Lee with a shaker in one hand and a stick with the other, with Lee's tricky accents and rhythmic patterns rattling in 6/8 time during the song "Government Work."

Tent Revival dazzled. Well-prepared and confident, they veered in new directions with each tune. There were more than a few almost-unsettling flirtations with Southern rock (by way of Band of Horses and Meat Puppets). There were a few Neil Young/Johnny Cash spots as well, as on the acoustic guitar-based "In My Prime" — another set highlight with Beverly's quivering, Orbisonic voice and jangly guitar chords weaving with Gibson's cello.

The Western Polaroids wandered on stage around 10:15 p.m. with a five-piece horn section and two extra percussionists, clanging their way through an amusingly boozy crescendo, with a few cymbal washes here and some reverby guitar junk there. They went right into a brassy, carnival-esque rendition of "Onto Me" (from the new EP). Dressed in black, and flanked by drummer Nick Jenkins, bassist Ben Wells, keys man Sam Sfirri, guitarist Bill Carson, and occasionally pedal steeler Josh Kaler, Holler beamed as she strummed and sang. They covered the new material well, closing with fan favorite "Keep Bleeding" (also from the new EP).

The Polaroids demonstrated terrific musical chemistry and a genuine sense of joyful camaraderie, but the searing set from Tent Revival earned some of the loudest praise of the night.

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