The Early Evening
The 5 Spot
June 15, 2007
There’s a thing about blood harmonies: they’re thick, and they mesh without becoming an impenetrable wad of melody. Closer than a good shave, the tone fits and complements in ways that take one’s breath away – and for Early Evening, it’s an intoxicating proposition that lands somewhere between Simon & Garfunkel’s airiness and the lushness of CSNY.
With an ether-like weightlessness, Indiana’s Daeger brothers traded vocals and supported each other’s lead singing with shimmering veils of “ooooh” and “ahhhhhh,” precision synchronizing their doubled places. For the most part, older brother George has a thickness to his voice that speaks of strength and resolve, while younger brother Dave is the more ethereal – at times powdery, others merely slight, yet always evocative of the tender emotions of a young man with a heart-shaped bulls-eye on his sleeve.
As much as their harmonies evoke an innocence and an impossibly guilty pop pleasure zone, though, it was Dave’s electric guitar work that defined their set at the 5 Spot. Whether it was the spaghetti Western jazz solo that turned in tighter and tighter circles around the melody of “Hard To See You,” the Stones on a hay bale drunken swerve of “Everyone’s A Hero” or evoking Neil Young’s After the Gold Rush acoustic tension on “Breathe,” his digital articulation was seamless, conjuring emotional complexity with cascades of notes.
Indeed, Dave Daeger’s slide work on “Heavy Lids” showed the slinky possibilities of economy. Sometimes it’s knowing which notes to strangle that creates a sonic autoerotic asphyxiation of a non-lethal variety.
Wide-eyed songs that move from a quixotic quest for social equanimity, romantic parity and social justice that makes sense (“Breathe”) to the call to youth inhabited with breathless joy and eager wonder (“To Be Free and Young and Smiling”), even the aching desire of “In Your Arms Tonight,” the Early Evening’s performance was unabashed and unashamed. To live out loud, to sing as one, to play guitar as if speaking in tongues – it’s the currency the pair trade in, and their exuberance for songs carries.
The polemic of cynicism – even evoking Harper’s Bazaar’s late ’60s hit “Feeling Groovy” for a breezy confectionary respite in their sole acoustic guitar detour – the pair plait happiness with the joie de vie that makes life in the struggle for fame, love and a place in the world so fulfilling. “Groovy” was injected with a certain credit-earned, dues-paying rewarded credibility from the jagged edge of George’s steadfast delivery.
Not for everyone. Certainly not those who clamor to see the dark side, mainline nihilism and surrender without tasting how sweet life can be. Simple, quirky songs that give the pair of 20-somethings plenty of reason to flex their optimism, share their worldview, circle in close vocal proximity and maybe make the world a little fresher, shinier and ours for the taking.