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REVIEWS: Butterflies, Kentucky Nightmare and I’ll Think About It

by Heather MacIntyre

Sometimes, you want to enjoy good quality live music in a low-key setting. No awareness of bands playing, day of the week or the venue will ever promise this. You can only hope that sometimes there is just enough going on that the general population of this target audience might be diluted across the state leaving your event with room to breathe and an easy-going ambiance. You’d think that it would not only be ideal, but inescapable for a coffee shop to always possess such small, underground, lightly-attended shows. Lately, however, it’s unfortunately…or fortunately (depending on how you look at it) been difficult for the Green Bean (myspace.com/greensborobean) to establish this on the weekends. I blame it on booking great bands with positive promotion and draw, and now it has turned this downtown caffeine drop-in into a primarily college-music venue. This past Saturday night though was a nice change of pace on a mild-paced evening on graduation weekend.

The show began in a pow-wow like arrangement of about a dozen kids sitting on the ground Indian style in front of two seated guitarplayers. We’ve seen this sort of set-up before, like when Aimee in des_ ark is feeling a little extra personal and shows no sympathy for those who talk during performances. The Greensboro band, I’ll Think About It, hadn’t played in months and expressed appreciation to the venue for this opportunity to share the docket with local friends. The performance was very quiet and personal, like a friend trying to tell you a story. It was so barely noticeable to even the back of the coffee shop, that for once during a show I saw people carrying on conversations with ease – the random locals that walked in without any idea of an event taking place. With easy three-to-five-chord simplicity, and sad-bastard vocals like Brice Brickford, it followed a constant rhythm with odd lyrics that reminds me of early Ben Kweller: “I killed a man that lived halfway around the world. Light enough to still, to carry conversation.” Just a few lines repeated per song it seems, yet soothing with a single Fender Strat, acoustic guitar, and ballads focused on life and death.

Bloomington, Indiana’s Kentucky Nightmare (kentuckynightmare.net) hit Greensboro as their mid-spot for their full spring/early summer tour. The female bassist held a slow-sleepy tone for the first few tunes, and then they picked it up. The first part of the set sounded like a not-so-talented high school band that had practiced a few times while putting together some songs and then last minute, got their first gig. Towards the end they played a good loud rock-out song with a perfect bridge that was dedicated to everyone’s boss. Though the show was free (as are all Green Bean events), they do accept donations – half joking pleas for someone’s floor to sleep on, chocolate and gas money. The unsigned band’s lead singer, Simon Moore, says they all grew up listening to bands like Built to Spill, Pavement, Mitch Mitchell and the Pixies. They only have eight copies left of their self-released album, Take Her Favour, but are ready to talk to some labels about putting another out soon.

Naturally, attendance picked up closer to Trekky Records’ Butterflies (myspace.com/butterfliesnc), but still kept a small-scale balance to the café that was just enough to stop people passing by on the street looking in, but intimidate them barely enough from joining (I see you peeping in the window, come check it out!). Their performance was one of my favorites that I’ve seen of them, indie-rock at it’s most ease with just friends and locals and more people enjoying the group for their current music and future promise, instead of “the new Mortar and Pestle.” Check out Butterflies in Wilmington on the May 26 for the WE Fest, featuring other locals like Embarrassing Fruits, the Never and Endless Mic, for the same price as a five-piece nugget at Wendy’s.

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