I had the pleasure of seeing The Steel Wheels at the Musikfest Cafe in Bethlehem, PA on September 9th. One of the best shows I’ve seen in a long time. The band is an amazing group of musicians playing riveting and fun Americana. I’ve always loved listening to a variety of different styles of music and have played and recorded a lot of different types over the years. Over the last couple of years Americana and bluegrass has exerted a pull on me the same way punk and post-punk did years ago. The Steel Wheels show had all the points I love in that style. The instrumentation’s sonic mix is wonderful. Each instrument has it’s own voice and blends together like a vocal choir. As a result, the instruments don’t step on each other and can each be heard clearly even when everyone’s playing at full throttle. Standup Bass, guitar, banjo, fiddle and mandolin is a great mix. No real need for percussion since the style played is so rhythmic. The band also had incredible vocals and harmonies. For someone who is in to recording and sonics I loved that all the vocals were done live on one mic. The sound mix is controlled by the musicians by where they stand in relation to the mic and how much volume they give to their part. That’s not an easy thing to do, especially live. The Steel Wheels nailed it and the result gave you chills in the best possible way.
I’ve added some photos from the show and a few links to videos below. If you ever have a chance to see the band live or buy a CD I highly recommend it.
…and a live performance video…
We don’t really consider this blog a “music review” site. We do discuss music we like but we also put up all sorts of topics: recording tech, ‘in the studio’, video tech, web sites we find interesting and articles of interest on any other topic that peaks our curiosity. Every once in a while, however, we do come across a band that we feel deserves some extra recognition (think Rev Peyton’s Big Damn Band). The band we’re touting in this entry is Creepoid. For me they also fall in to my “how-did-I-miss-this” category, especially since they are a Philadelphia band and somewhat “local” for us in the Lehigh Valley.
I’ve been listening to their CD Horse Heaven which was released in 2011. A lot of times you hear a band’s CD and it’s a couple of great singles and the rest is filler. This CD is all killer, no filler. It has all the elements I like: lots of open space; accoustic guitar paired with buzz saw distortion guitar; great vocals and slabs of wonderful reverb. I usually listen to CDs in my car. The perfect setting for this CD was driving back roads in the bare winter woods as the sun was disappearing. The songs overflowed with atmosphere. Since we are a studio based blog, I have to give kudos to the folks who did the engineering and mixing. The goal of all studios should be to get the sound right for the specific project they’re working on – they nailed it here.
You can find Horse Heaven here: http://creepoid.bandcamp.com/
They’ll be releasing their second CD, the self titled Creepoid
3/4/14 – looking forward to hearing it. There’s a CD release party in Philly 2/27/14. Try to claw your way there.
Oh, and you must see this video: