Friday - 9:00p - Bird House
Imagine the experience of a long-doomed relationship finally flying apart, the center no longer able to hold. Imagine the tension of your comfort zone bursting, the resolve of returning to a life you may have almost forgotten. Somehow, Steve Leaf & The Ex Pats have captured that experience in their music. From fuzzed-out guitars and swirling keyboards giving way to a delicate, keening vocal, the whole experience is unsettlingly familiar–but undeniably charming.
Leaf’s voice warbles like Thom Yorke, but both singer and band present a raw, human vulnerability the Radiohead frontman could never be accused of. The songs always stop short of the bombast that lesser bands might be tempted by, opting instead for the slow burn, utilizing calm and restraint to frightening effect. Everyone who has ever loved has lost, and Leaf and his Ex-Pats somehow manage to tap into the complete experience, bringing it to the speakers in beautiful, trembling, tragic light.
That’s not to say the whole experience is sad or depressing. Great songwriters like those from which Leaf takes his cues–Buckley, Malkmus, Tweedy–are able to find a comfort in a shared hurt, to turn something sad into something awe-inspiringly beautiful, and that’s exactly what the band executes in their music.
With a slew of high-profile gigs on their resume–including performances with the likes of Frontier Ruckus, Chadwick Stokes, and The Crane Wives, as well as recording their own Daytrotter session–Steve Leaf & The Ex-Pats have honed themselves into a powerful live act. As the air gets colder, the leaves start to turn and the weather signals an end to summer, the group will be bringing these songs of endings and continuations to Lamplight.