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If someone were to ask us on a randomly selected day whether music makes our lives more enjoyable, the answer would be an unequivocal, “Yes, certainly.” But on a typical day, that’s not a consideration – it’s just a given, as it probably is for you, since you take the time to read music blogs.
Yesterday was not one of those typical days. During the performance by The Eastern Sea in San Francisco, it seemed natural to gravitate toward considering the influence of music on the enjoyment of life. Briefly stated, for each of us there is a healthy collection of music that enhances a good attitude or reduces the effect of a bad one, but there is a small subset of that collection that has a power that isn’t easy to understand, and difficult to explain even if you understand. Right now, a healthy portion of our personal subset is music by The Eastern Sea.
At the Brick and Mortar last night, The Eastern Sea started with “The Match,” which is probably its most popular song. The setlist also included “Santa Rosa,” “Central Cemetery,” and “The Line.” We enjoyed them all. But the song of most interest was the title song of the 2012 album, “Plague.” The 42 seconds starting at the 1:58 mark is the best example of what we love most about The Eastern Sea. Other bands have a trumpet or other horn instrument. But rather than the instrument providing a background interest or being featured periodically, the trumpet in “Plague” blends with the vocals. Matthew Hines is the Band’s singer and Kevin Thomas is the trumpet player.
While those 42 seconds are the best example of the cooperation of the trumpet and Hines’ voice, a song that more consistently benefits from the melding is “The Line.” It surfaces at the 1:40 mark, becomes subtle for a stretch, but then dominates the feel of the song for an extended time that starts at the 3:10 mark.
It’s unfortunate that the three-act show started at 9:00pm on a Wednesday. For those of us who must drive a distance to San Francisco in order to catch a concert, it’s not easy to explain to others why the loss of a night of good sleep is a price that is easy to justify. But if you have a chance to catch The Eastern Sea, grab it.
No disrespect to the opening act (Evan P. Donohue) or the headliner (Kopecky Family Band). In particular, the Kopecky Family Band was worthwhile – six members who are all adept with their instruments and three of the six having strong stage presence. It was a great night.