Club Dada nestled in the heart of Deep Ellum provided a killer indie-pop/folk lineup last Saturday night. Starting with Sun June, straight out of Austin, who put us at home without us ever leaving Texas. The band is composed of singer Laura Colwell, drummer Sarah Schultz, bassist Justin Harris, and guitarist Michael Bain.
Their self-proclaimed regret pop is a blend of lyrical yearning and languid grooves. Colwell’s voice is a gentle caress in the song “Johnson City”, and she repeatedly pleads, “just come home with me tonight.” The air is palpable with hope and regret, getting to the core of what makes us truly human. Proving that less is more, singer Colwell translates the simplistic tracks from their debut album, Years, into a beautiful, nostalgic live performance.
Following a superb first act, Eric Johnson of Fruit Bats struts on stage with his latest tour ensemble. Unfortunately, he chose to wear a wool-lined suit jacket, but that did not stop him from moving and grooving across the small stage. He refused to back down to the Texas heat, and I was very impressed by his commitment to fashion. The show was a fabulous blend of works new and old, and with audience members shouting out tracks, Johnson didn’t stick entirely to the setlist. Their most recent album, Gold Past Life, pulls from bittersweet memories of simple times and has an air of nostalgic sentiment similar to Sun June.
Johnson’s pristine vocals and luscious locks captivate the audience where he is at ease an in control of the small stage. The track “So Long” has the repeated line “she should dance if she wants to dance,” and boy was the audience dancing to the sweet tunes. And after talking with a few fans, the consensus is that Fruit Bat’s music is as comforting as it is danceable. The final song played, “When You Love Somebody”, is a personal favorite of mine and was even better with an increased tempo, as well as with a greater southern twang than the recording.
After the show, I was able to speak with Johnson about his performance earlier this summer at the Britt Festival in Jacksonville, Oregon. He’s familiar with the state, having lived in Portland for numerous years. He even knew of my small hometown, Ashland, which he called awesome! Even though Johnson was born in Illinois, he will always be an honorable Oregonian in my heart. I can see that the future of Fruit Bats is bright, making people smile and dance for years to come.