The Crayon Fields at Black Cat, Washington D.C., 10/24/10

crayon fields

Crayon Fields – Graceless (live)

The melodious charm of Melbourne’s The Crayon Fields shines strongly on their most recent album, “All The Pleasure of the World” and they brought that same magic to their October 24th show at Washington D.C.’s Black Cat. The quartet took the stage late on Sunday, so sadly the crowd had thinned a bit, but it didn’t deter The Crayon Fields from putting on a charming performance filled with lovely harmonies and witty banter. (Warning the amount of times I use sweet and its synonym to describe this band dangers on obscene).

As the band demurely prepared for their set, singer and songwriter Geoff O’Conner joked that the remaining audience members recalled the elimination rounds of “America’s Next Top Model” and he greatly appreciate us sticking around because in Australia they would consider 11 p.m. on a Sunday “criminally late”.

Listening to their album I enjoyed the well-crafted lyrics and structured melodies, but for some reason I could not  get immediately on board with their sound.  I found them a bit too precious at times. That opinion completely changed as soon as they started playing “All The Pleasures of The World”, one of the bigger songs off their recent release. This wasn’t because their sound was somehow harder or more aggressive, because that isn’t what they are about nor should they be. It was more from the utter sincerity displayed in their playing that revealed the strong belief they have for the music they produce. Perhaps the cynic in me didn’t believe the sweetness of lyrics like “all the adventures of the world always happen around me” or “our damp cheeks sparkle like glitter as we huddle in the rain” were written in earnest, but seeing O’Conner sing them I realized they were.

Drummer Erenstrom provided a sublime and strong beat, mixing it up a bit with some moroccos. At times it appeared that he was using them as drum sticks, which was awesomely creative. Second guitarist and keyboardist Hung and bassist Hudson displayed the same musical talent and capacity seen on their album as they fingered their sweet-sounding refrains and provided O’Conner with some mellifluous backing vocals. O’Conner had earlier told me that The Crayon Fields strongly believes in producing tight structures and therefore demo extensively. Their penchant for practice is clear, because they were probably one of the tightest sounding and mistake-free bands I’ve seen perform in a long time. It is especially impressive considering they are still a fairly young band, only having had their current line-up since 2005. These well-executed sounds seemed to waif out to the bar and beckon patrons in, because mid-way through their set the audience had grown quite a bit.

The Crayon Fields steadily focused on material from “All The Pleasure of the World”, but they did play a new song that they are working on called “So Glad”. It follows in the similar  sound of their past records, but it didn’t come of as trite or repetitive because they manage to mix up their songs with different tempos and new sounds, even if it does fall under the general umbrella of 60′s laced indie pop.

Although “Mirror Ball” is the biggest hit of their album, I have to say I, and the rest of D.C. probably found “Graceless” to be the best song of their set. The amount of almost dancing I saw was astonishing, but we couldn’t help it. The upbeat and swaying tempo combined with O’Conner’s crisp rendition of “I was Graceless” pretty much brought the entire crowd into The Crayon Fields’ camp for life.

Even though they didn’t play the longest set, they still provided an excellent show. It was enjoyable to watch a band that is so together and comfortable with each other and their playing ability. The maturity The Crayon Fields presents in both their music and performance ability is often not seen in bands until they have been playing for 10 or 20 years, so it was a real pleasure to see such a young band already strongly display that on only a second release. It is safe to say that if The Crayon Fields stay on this trajectory, they are going to be one of the strongest and tightest bands on the scene.

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The Crayon Fields performing “Mirror Ball” at Washington D.C.’s Black Cat

Download Crayon Fields Make Peace With Love HERE

By: Stephanie Glass

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