Last week, as you probably know, was another First Friday for Indianapolis, and for the month of April, it was way too cold for any sane person to want to go out. Still, I found there were plenty of Indy locals and visitors willing to brave the cold for The Pioneer’s show with In Tall Buildings and Saint Aubin. It probably helps that they wave the cover at the door on First Fridays.
The Pioneer was pretty full when I walked in, rubbing warmth back into my arms. Thirty degrees is too cold for April no matter where you live. After the customary I.D. check, I made my way to the crowded bar, and waited for the show to start. I didn’t really know what to expect, as I’d never listened to either band live, and I was anxious for the music to begin.
Fortunately, I didn’t have to wait long before Saint Aubin took the stage.
Saint Aubin is a three-piece alternative, synth-rock band from Indy. They didn’t waste much time getting set-up, and launched into their set with “God’s Good Time”, the second track from the album “Moonlight Monster”. It was a good opening song for setting the tone, with a mix of soulful energy and ambient sound.
As they continued to play, I was surprised to see the members of Saint Aubin (Trevor St. Aubin, Fredrick Miller III, Scott Moran) take turns with their instruments from song to song. St. Aubin would get up from the drums while Moran took his place, and grab the guitar from Miller, who would move over to the synth.
Saint Aubin was versatile, energetic, and on point with their performance. And for as long as they were playing, the crowd was theirs. Keep a look out for Saint Aubin at venues across town. For more information on them, you can visit their website, or find them on Facebook.
Brief Words with Erik Hall (In Tall Buildings)
After Saint Aubin finished their set, I was lucky enough to find Erik Hall and get in a few words with him about his most recent album, “Akinetic”.
“It was the one that I was very intentional about making, and about making it at this time, and trying to finish it as efficiently as I could. The second record, ‘Driver’ took me like five years to make, and it was just as gradual as the first record was. With ‘Akinetic’ I was motivated. I had a producer, Brian Deck (Modest Mouse, Iron & Wine) who came in and worked with me.”
“This record was the first time I tried to really make a proper statement, and do it more deliberately. Each song is kind of a different take on this awareness of inertia. You know, Akinetic, that’s a word that refers to the lack of motion. It’s a fundamental lack of the ability to move.”
Unfortunately, our conversation was cut short when Hall had to start getting ready for the stage.
In Tall Buildings
As I waited for Erik Hall and his backing band to begin, my head was buzzing, and not just from the beer. I’d just been given an inside look at Hall’s intention behind the very music I was about to hear.
In Tall Buildings opened with “Siren Song” from “Akinetic”, which moved ever forward with a gradually building, almost hypnotic beat. Lines like, “I pushed off, and turned and tossed”, built toward the song’s distorted and chaotic climax. After our conversation, it seemed like Hall was trying to shake people out of the motionless state he was referring to.
But as they continued to play, I saw in the thinning crowd the faces of people who had already gotten their fill of excitement and live music from Saint Aubin. Many were drunk, happy, sloppy faces, already looking ahead to the next bar, or laughing with their friends and barely listening. I found myself wishing I could shake them all by the shoulders and tell them what Erik had told me.
In the end, of course I didn’t do any of that. Instead, I sat, and I listened. But as I watched Erik sing and bear his soul out there, I felt like he was getting the short end of the stick. Here he was in Indy, playing a free show on a night of many other free shows. But what can you do?
If In Tall Buildings comes through Indy again, do yourself a favor by going and really listening. You can listen to “Akinetic” on Bandcamp, and find more info on In Tall Buildings by visiting their website or Facebook page.