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Concert Report

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Over the Rhine

It is a rare occurrence in today's over-amplified, bass-kicking sound world to leave a concert feeling as if you actually heard the music. Over the Rhine provided one of those concerts on Thursday October 2nd at Birdys Bar and Grill in Indianapolis. My personal congratulations to the sound guy, who's mixing allowed the audience to really hear all the different layers of music and different instrumentation really being played.

Another rare occurrence; real songwriters and musicians playing their own music! The five-piece band is led by vocalist, Karin Barquist, and her husband Linford Detweiler, keyboardist and collaborator. The rest of the band consists of Paul Moak who played the sitar during the opening song and lead guitar during most of the others, Will Seyles on drums, and Rick Plant on bass guitar. But Barquist seems to be the key member in the band. She has all the qualities a good lead singer should have; great voice, good-looking, poised, mature and confident. She really runs the show up there, and makes it look effortless in the process.

The style of music cannot really be defined as one genre. The audience made it even harder to discern the kind of music being played. The people ranged in ages, gender, race, and dress. They just seemed like "real" people, not trying to be any part of one group, just like their music.

This mix of folky, pop, one attempt at a slowly spoken rap song, and country music produced all different kinds of songs. The songs have the type of lyrics that make you relate your own life to every single one of them. They're deep, and well thought out. Barquist doesn't just repeat the same nonsense lyric over and over. Her voice, to me, sounds a little like my favorite artist, Sarah McLaughlin. But it could really go any way she wanted; hard, soft, loud, weak, whiny, smooth, short and breathy. I have also heard her compared to singer Norah Jones. It seems like the marital bond between Barquist and Detweiler might have served as a source for lyric material.

On Thursday night, the stage at Birdys was adorned with oriental rugs, candles, and vases of flowers to create ambiance. It was nice, but they wouldn't have needed it, the music spoke for itself. They played songs from two of their albums, Good Dog Bad Dog, but mostly their latest, Ohio. This album is the one that drew the crowd that night.

They opened with a song that I hadn't heard and was not off of any of their albums. Moak demonstrated his skills on the sitar while Barquist breathed achy words that didn't make any sense. I don't think they were all even real words. This song was just a vocal and instrumental warm up and then they kicked it in gear with the first song off their Ohio album, "B.P.D." This song starts simply with piano and vocals. At times, Barquist seems like she might crack her voice but she always seemed to smooth it out just in time. The words in this song resemble something John Lennon might have liked. Instead of "Crying out loud," Barquist wails "crying out" and makes it seem like she actually is.

Their song, "Jesus in New Orleans," keeps almost the same tempo as "B.P.D." but sounds a little more honky-tonk, folksy. I didn't think I would like this song when they first introduced it because of the title. I assumed it would be a Christian type song but the lyrics proved me wrong, The last time I saw Jesus/I was drinking Bloody Mary's/in the south. Barquist voice in this song could have easily been mistaken for Sheryl Crow.

Over the Rhine new how to mix it up after these slow to medium tempo, breathy songs and played "Nobody Number 1." This song starts with a simple drum beat, while Barquist waits for the right time to jump in with her breathy spoken lyrics. She sings the refrain, Come on now child don't cry/Let's give it one more try and returns to her modification of rap. A lot of people weren't to keen on this song but I really liked it simply because it was different. When Barquist rattles off the words, it takes a second to digest them, but they're



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