Benjamin Riley Band/Cassie Morgan and the Lonely Pine/Patrick Sweany at Off Broadway, St. Louis, MO, 2.10.11

To continue Patrick Sweany Month here at NTSIB, we are pleased to have a guest review of Patrick’s recent CD release show in St. Louis by our friend Nate Burrell, along with some wonderful photos by Nate and another talented photographer, Kate McDaniel.

On a cold and icy Thursday evening in south city St. Louis, music fans braved the elements to go out and see an absolutely stellar 3-band bill at Off Broadway – our city’s premier music venue. With the stage lights beaming down, headliner, Nashville-based rhythm and soul rock-n-roller, Patrick Sweany grabbed his pale green guitar, stepped to the mic and shouted out “All right, St. Louis, how ya doin’?” and immediately started into a hot set that melted the stage and unthawed the ears of anyone unfamiliar with his signature sound. Backed by an extremely tight bassist and a drummer with metronome like precision, Sweany burned through a few numbers from early in his catalogue before unleashing live versions of tracks from his recently released 5th album That Old Southern Drag. Showcasing his commanding guitar work and his beautifully raspy, soul-filled voice, Patrick stomped, shredded, and howled out tune after tune for 75+ minutes, leaving the crowd wanting more. With an applause that could be heard three blocks down, Sweany played one last song before stepping off of the stage and into the masses, where he began handshaking, talking eye-to-eye with every approaching fan, and thanking the out-of-town crowd that he had just won over.

Opening the evening and warming up the stage were St. Louis-based indie folk darlings Cassie Morgan and the Lonely Pine. Morgan, whose song craft is as brilliant as anyone in the industry today, and her band mate, the endlessly talented Beth Bombara, played a delightfully beautiful set of original tunes that held the room at a captivated stand-still. With songs formed around Morgan’s eerily delicate vocals and outstanding use of space in her guitar playing, while Bombara sang in deliciously on-point harmony as she laid down layer after layer of percussive accompaniments, these two multi-instrumentalists were able to let their uniquely organic sound breathe a melodic breath, that was warmly welcomed by their appreciative hometown crowd.

Rounding out the evening was the ever-energetic Benjamin Riley. With a five-piece band backing him, Riley took control of the center stage and absolutely let loose. Belting out a series of upbeat songs, Benjamin let his gritty soul-soaked vocals do the rolling, while he and his band did the rocking. At one point, Riley and bassist Kit Hamon were so into the moment that they were literally stomping and playing in unison – completely awesome to see. Just as they did for the Sweany, Morgan and Bombara, the crowd showed their appreciation and respect to this up-and-coming St. Louis band.

Three bands. Lots of people. One kick-ass venue. All coming together for an excellent night of live music.

St Louis music photographers Nate Burrell and Kate McDaniel were in the front row capturing it all as it went down. See the show as they saw it – both in black & white and color. And when you are done with the visual stimulation, go get the sounds of each band at their website. You’re sure to be a fan when it’s all said and done. Rock on!


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