Nurses, Dominant Legs
Tremont Music Hall
Oct. 8, 2011
It's always horridly disappointing to pull up into an empty parking lot on the night of an awesome show. I suppose it is the nature of the beast. There are many factors that can contribute to low turnout — other shows going on, lack of knowledge of the musicians etc. But when you know a breathtaking show was promoted properly and people are elsewhere, it is always a bit disheartening.
In this case, there were other great shows and a protest being held Uptown. Nurses and Dominant Legs are from across the country and, considering their indie nature, I would imagine there aren't many people around here that know of them. However, I knew that regardless of how many people eventually turned up, it would be an intriguing night. The empty venue was just a plus for those that made it out. We were going to get a personal show.
Shortly after 9 p.m. and in anticipation of people flocking into the venue, Nurses began their performance. As I had expected, despite the fact the crowd was thin, they did not let it disrupt the power of their set. The enchantment of this three pieces' musical ability was worthy of immaculate attention from our scene and those of us there to witness it struck metaphorical gold.
The intimate setting resulted in the strong echoing of their experimental indie-folk-pop throughout the venue to the handful of people's hearts and bodies, leading us away into bliss. With James' catchy, hip, knocking percussion along with the dreamy overlay of John's keyboard and Aaron's guitar, their live performance was everything I had envisioned — passionate and almost unsettlingly on-point, a pure physical projection of everything I had heard recorded. As the higher notes of Aaron's incredibly capable range radiated throughout the building, I received chills and felt privileged to be one of few to experience such beauty. And looking around the room, bodies were ardently responding to the beat and faces, smiling from ear-to-ear, it seemed we were all on the same page.
Toward the end of their set, a couple manically stormed into the building in utter disappointment that they were not nearly on time. After the band began putting down their instruments and calling it a night, the girl sweetly cried out, “No! Please! We came to see you and we're late! We drove an hour and a half to get here!” Looking at each other for approval, the boys asked the girl whether she had a request. The song she threw out was “Fever Dreams,” the song they had opened with. Smiling, Aaron agreed, “Ok, let's start from the beginning, we've never done this before.” And so they did, playing it just as well as they had before and leaving the rest of the crowd with cheesy grins on their faces in respect for such dedication to their fans, providing a musical sandwich in a literal sense as we soaked up the last of a experience I'm sure none of us wanted to end.
Between the two sets, I approached Garrett of Dominant Legs and Aaron of Nurses, apologizing to them for the low turnout. I begged them to not let this be a reflection of our city, as I know we have a reputation with touring bands. I explained to them that the majority of town was probably elsewhere because there was so much going on and ensured them that the show was promoted properly — I had seen flyers everywhere and had been spreading the word myself. Both of them smiled at me and told me it was no big deal, it wouldn't keep them from coming back. Garrett even joked that he was used to playing for only five people. They were truly nice guys and it was good to see that they understood and would be willing to give us another chance.
With five members and an eclectic mix of instrumentation, Dominant Legs grasped the attention of all of those that had been socializing around, dwindling in the venue throughout the night. Their male vocalist, Ryan, was versatile in his skill as he switched instruments while holding down his vocal abilities along with the beautiful female voice of Hannah accompanying him and adding to the melodies with her keyboard.
Their indie mix of keyboard, guitar, drums, bass and occasionally another guitar or keyboard, made you just flat out feel good. It was like sitting in the sunshine on a beautiful day as the delicate aspirations of layered musical composition led us to the place they wanted to take us. As their vocalists stripped off over layers of clothing they joked “We should've worn bathing suits,” causing us to smile in the midst of the musically induced emotional journey they were taking us through.
As bodies continued moving, shoes came off and people got down, dancing the night away. Although there were many members of this band, it seemed that it did not obstruct them from having a close connection will all of each other. They danced, joked and continued having fun with each other as well as making fun of themselves to the audience. After finishing their last song, a mesmerized crowd asked for more and just as Nurses was respectable to their fan base, Dominant Legs followed in suit and played a song for us that they've never done live.
Although it was sad to see such a small crowd at such a powerful show, I imagine a lasting impression has been made on those of us who were there. I had been waiting a long time to see Nurses live and was also intrigued by what I had heard from Dominant Legs when I discovered them upon realizing they were on tour with them. It was everything I had expected and more. I can't wait for them to come back through and wish them the best of luck on the rest of their tour.