Easily the Best Show of the Year

Saints of Valory at Crown Station. Forgive the sad little picture, but I was too mesmerized by this amazing show…I only took two!

I realize I’m given to excessive love for singers, bands, musicians in general.  But when talking about live shows, statements such as “It was the best show I’ve seen all year” are not comments that I make lightly.  I see a lot of live music; last year, I saw more than 80 live performances.  Having that many under your belt gives you a lot of options for “the best,” so it’s not easy for me to bestow that title.

But, I can say this without a doubt:  Hands down, Saints of Valory‘s performance at Crown Station last night was the best show I’ve seen all year.

This little quartet from Austin plays with such passion and heart – and it was evident to everyone in that room.  I watched people who didn’t know their music at all turn into fans last night.  Huge, soaring vocals.  Intricate guitar work.  Simple and beautiful keys.  Then there’s world’s most silent man, Gerard Bouvier, who plays drums like a lion – his quiet personality completely belies his skill. When you combine their talents with an intimate, micro-sized venue like Crown Station, you’ve got a recipe for a magical show.

When artists genuinely want to connect with their audience, there’s an electricity that’s created and just can’t be matched – and last night’s show was chock full of spark and ignition. They played nearly everything off of their Bright Lights album (they call it an EP, but I think they’re taking the very literal definition of EP), both “new” songs from the Neon Eyes EP, and even performed a few new songs, including “Million to None,” which could easily become a new favorite of mine.

I have a thing for bands where there are more vocals than just the lead singer, and SOV does not disappoint here.  Guitarist Godfrey Thomson and keyboardist Stephen Buckle lend their voices on a lot of songs to produce a veritable choir.  Then there was this small, almost imperceptible thing that I noticed.  If you study Gavin while he sings, he makes these little hand motions that might seem like they’re personal – reaching a hand out towards the audience ever so slightly, holding his hand to his chest, or touching his head like he’s thinking – but they’re really part of the performance, pulling you into the songs, making you feel the songs on his level.   The recorded CD couldn’t possibly capture these energies…you’ve got to just see it live.

When I ask my friends to come out to shows, they never let me down – and there’s always one or two out of a big group that walk away with a CD or saying they really like the band.  But last night, I watched my friends, along with other people that didn’t know their music, become fans. They were, like me, caught up in the magic of their show.   And that high that you can only get from seeing a truly great music performance, carried over into today, as I watched my friends tweet, blog, and tweet some more about the band and their own connections with the music.

To put icing on the evening, the band was just the nicest, most down-to-earth group of guys, who were content to hang out with us after the show for a few hours (yes, hours) telling stories, laughing at our crazy antics, and talking music.

The thing is…Saints of Valory is a band truly on the way up.  They’ve got so much passion for what they’re doing, and their music is already so good, but you can hear it getting even better.  From the CD, which was released in November, to now, they’ve made just small tweaks to songs – guitar bits here, a slight lyric shift there – and the songs are richer because of it.  The new songs they’re playing, some of them literally just written in the last few weeks, are incredible. I have no doubts that by the next time I see them these songs will be really developed and absolutely floor me.

Mark my words – these guys are going to continue to push their own envelope.  You want to be on this journey with them.  Buy their music, but more importantly, get your tush out to a show to see them. And prepare yourself, because you’re going to fall in love with Saints of Valory.

More Saints of Valory:  Web | Twitter | Facebook

4 thoughts on “Easily the Best Show of the Year

  1. K — I enjoyed the show and agree with your comments. The SoV CD has been pretty amazing for me. After listening to the disc all the way through, I went back to two or three songs and continued to play them over and over again. Addicted. Later, I got stuck on two or three OTHER songs and couldn’t stop pressing repeat. So, at the moment, I’m absolutely in love with “Providence” and “Bright Lights,” but I fully expect by the end of the weekend, I will have two new favorites.

    Very few CDs can do this for me. Favorite songs are hard to come and have to earn their keep in my song rotation, so I’m stunned.

    I’m also very excited about the new song the band wrote just days ago, ““Million to None.” If you find that recorded online somewhere, let me know. I need it.

    As always, thanks for all of your live music alerts. You never disappoint. Sorry we won’t see you on Saturday. We’ll be hanging with SK6ers and Marc Broussard in Asheville.


  2. Great write-up on SOV. I came across them opening up late last year for Alpha Rev here in Austin, and me and my friends were shocked to hear an opening band sound the way they do. We all were instant fans and bought a couple copies of their cd. Amazing thing is that cd didn’t leave my car for a solid couple months. It truely is one of those albums that you can let play from beginning to end and not skip a track and just let it repeat all over again. Since then I’ve gotten spoiled getting to see them numerous times here in Austin. Not to mention they are personally great guys who love to chat it up with the fans afterwards. And even seeing countless number of bands at SXSW, these guys still made my “Top 10 of SXSW” and are easily one of my favorite bands whose shows I rarely miss.

    • Ruben – You lucky fella…Austin is the best city! Thanks for the kind words. If you’ve got any other Austin band recs, send ’em my way! Alpha Rev is one of my faves…so you obviously have good taste!

  3. Pingback: RadioPotato's Top 5 Songs for August 2011 | RadioPotato

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