This past Wednesday night, I went to a show at the Paramount. The artists were Eli Young Band. This is a band I have enjoyed since I first listened to their CD “Jet Black and Jealous,” back in 2008. And, I believe “When It Rains,” has been playing continuously somewhere in the back on my head, since the first time I heard it. They are a great band, and I am so glad that I was able to see them – for the second time – this past Wednesday night.
The first time I saw them was at our Appalachian Fair in Gray, Tenn., back in 2009. They were good then, of course they are better now. When you listen to their music, it is obvious that the group has grown over the last three years. The show in 2009 was pretty much what I expected. It was fun to watch, the guys worked well together on stage. They looked comfortable on stage, and we got to hear some great music and watch a fun show. (You can check out the write-up and photos from that show by clicking here.)
One difference I noticed between the show in 2009, and the show on Wednesday night, is that it wasn’t all Mike this year. While Mike Eli has always handled the lead vocals, this year I think James Young and Jon Jones (guitar and bass guitar), played a little more of an active role in the show. They didn’t stay in their little spot this year, like they did three years ago. They moved over near Mike, they moved over near each other, they interacted with him, and it was more of a group, than a ‘lead singer with his band behind him.’ It was even more fun to watch than before. It was a performance where the audience couldn’t help but watch Chris Thompson on drums. I liked the set-up. Chris was not stuck on a part of the stage where it was hard to see him. He was in good lighting, and he is a ‘fun’ drummer to watch. His talent, and his actions back on the drum set, definitely added to the show.
Now that you all know this is one of my favorite bands (evidenced by the review I did of their current CD, “Life At Best,” which I hope you will go back and read by clicking here) – I did have a problem with Wednesday night’s show. A serious problem, that kept me (and most of the audience) from enjoying the performance as much as we should have. And, a problem that certainly didn’t do anything to help gain Eli Young Band new fans.
If there was anyone in that audience who was seeing EYB for the first time, or who was not as familiar with their songs as I am, and anyone who didn’t know the words to those songs, they were not going to know them after listening to them sung on Wednesday. The show was at the Paramount theater. The Paramount is not an arena, it is not a fair, it is not a festival, it is not outside, it is literally a room. It does not seat thousands of people, and therefore, the people doing the sound must learn to adjust their sound according to their venue. The band was playing to less than 750 people on Wednesday night. The volume was so loud that you could not understand any of the words in the songs.
What made things worse, is that I think everyone enjoys it when the artists talk to them during the show. Little comments about the songs, or about where they are from, just anything. That kind of audience interaction is really important. I don’t believe any of us want someone to just stand up there and sing. Well, Mike did talk to us. Now, how many of you who were at that show have any idea what Mike was saying? When the sound is turned up that loud, you just can’t understand anything that was being said.
I was very happy to see that Eli Young Band has not grown so big that they forgot how they achieved that success. They still credit their fans for the love and support they receive from us. And, they were still nice enough to come out after the show, spend a little time with the fans who hung around (hoping they would). They signed autographs, talked to us, and allowed us the opportunity to take pictures and even ask them questions. (Photo: Several fans outside the theater after the show).
Mike did tell us that he and his wife will be welcoming their baby girl into the world on Monday, July 30 (if it hasn’t happened before then). So, we’re all anxious to hear more about that tomorrow. Mike wouldn’t tell us what name they have picked out for their new daughter – so we will find that out when a press release hits the internet, hopefully tomorrow or Tuesday.
To Mike, Jon, Chris and James – thank you for coming to our little theater in Bristol, Tenn. It was really great seeing you all again, and I hope you will head back to Northeast Tennessee again very soon.
Now, thanks to good friend Lisa, we have a few more pictures from Wednesday night’s show:
Back with more a little later!