Indie pop Boston ensemble, Gentlemen Hall, are well known for their sound that "stands strong between the high-handed anthemic choruses of the Killers and the retro synth melodies of MGMT, along with a dash of wildman flutist antics. Gentlemen Hall have established themselves as one of the most talked about bands to emerge from Boston in recent years."
If you are new to their music and want to know what to expect from a live show, that is hard to describe. Every performance has the signature, bright, electric bolted energy sound of GH, however, after seeing the band three times in two years, I have to say, Gentlemen Hall continues to surprise, even their closest followers.
They recently headlined in Northampton, at the Iron Horse Music Hall, with The Luxury, as openers. The band who supported GH's last main show was June & The Bee. Emma June Ayers, was in attendance as a fan that night, as GH pulls in other musicians and creates a growing collective. (June & The Bee headlined their own performance the following day.)
GH played a great set. Fan favorites and a few popular covers gloried their playlist. Mid-way through, they debuted the addition of a bells version of, "Take Me Under" and a floor tom drum that Gavin and the entire band integrated into many of their songs. The sound and atmosphere of the Gentlemen Hall experience was entirely changed after this.
The GH team blew the roof off of the Iron Horse with an earthy mix of world beats, underlined with a contemporary urban vibe. The crowd was swept up in a pulsating swirl of dancing, spinning and chantable singing. At one point, the sound was so organic, it almost resembled rain and bubbled up across the crowd who, once again, responded in a collective whirlpool of musical goodness. They still cranked up voluminous soundscapes that were mod and danceable, but the earth shook a bit that night, as the GH crew literally "Sailed Into The Sun" for a new course in music.
I think this direction shows sophistication and excitement for future productions. One thing that is equally impressive is that, as surprising as their music can evolve, GH is successful because of their consistency. Gentlemen Hall have kept the same lineup for several years now, as well as their hard working attitude toward their artistry, the fans and shows. Being serious about their reputation as respectful musicians with a positive message, creative lyrics and ethereal craftsmanship, have set them apart from other acts so far. Yet, they seem to be just getting started.
Gentlemen Hall's music can be heard in many global markets now. They are quickly becoming part of what America will hear in mainstream culture, as day to day as, Samsung commercials and Hollister stores. This Fall they will be in the lineup of the LIFE IS GOOD festival. Joining the ranks of bands like Jack Johnson, Hall and Oates, The Roots, Amos Lee, Dawes, Trampled By Turtles, and others, Gentlemen Hall's continued positive presence in popular music is a welcome addition to the airwaves today.
Historically, the wide expanse of pop forms has been pushed to the edges by great artists. Peter Gabriel's embrace of world music, or Sting's journey after the Police, demonstrate that great radio is not necessarily restricted to the easily accessible beats. I think Gentlemen Hall are on this path. Catch them if you can!
Set List from The Iron Horse/June, 2013.
Flashlight- Blush - How Long Have They Been Watching Me - Along You Came - Satellite - Take Me Under - Raindrops -Animal (Mike Snow cover) - Makes Me Feel Alive --- flute interlude --- Every Morning - All Our Love - Gravity Will Break Our Bones - Low Light - Sail into the Sun - Disparate Youth (Santigold cover) - Golden Age
Gavin Merlot (lead vocals, guitar) Cobi Mike (lead vocals, guitar) Rory Given (bass guitar) Bradford Alderman (synthesizers) Phil Boucher (drums) Seth Hachen (flute, piccolo).
Other reviews of Gentlemen Hall: