Words // Scott Pingeton
I stumbled onto Ivan & Alyosha's excellent Fathers Be Kind EP fairly late in 2011, but it didn't take long for it to earn a spot on my year-end favorite EPs list. Lush harmonies and pop sensibilities made it an easy listen, and listen I did - over and over and over. A sure favorite for fans other PNW exports Fleet Foxes and The Head And The Heart.
When i heard the band would be warming the Somerville Theater stage for Aimee Mann, I promptly marked my calendar. Seeing a band for the first time usually means a late night in an Allston or Cambridge club, which is great and all - but I am old and lame now, inching ever closer to 30. Needless to say, the early start time, cushy theater setting and middle-aged Aimee Mann crowd suited me just fine, thanks. Joking aside, one of the benefits of a theater vs. rock club is the sound, and the Somerville Theater was perfectly suited for the band's soaring harmonies.
As the band took the stage I was surprised to see 4 mics lined up across the front of the stage and no drum set. Percussion was limited to tambourine, and frequent clapping/stomping. The rest of the band traded off acoustic guitars, an electric guitar and all contributed vocals. The band kept the crowd, which started small and steadily filled-in throughout their set, interested with songs off Fathers Be Kind, plus a heavy dose of new material. Likeable between-song banter kept the mood relaxed and if the job of the opening band is to get whet the crowd's musical appetite and get them engaged - Ivan & Alyosha did just that. "I Was Born To Love Her" opened the set, "Fathers Be Kind" was a late-set favorite that received a roaring ovation and the capacity crowd happily clapped and sang-along with the set-closing "Glorify". Judging by the line at the band's merch table and comments overheard from those around me, I'd say the band won over some new fans. I can't wait for them to return for a longer, headlining set in one of those aforementioned clubs.
The full set is available for stream/download below. Sound is generally very good, with some limited crowd noise. Thanks to the sound crew/staff at the Somerville Theater and of course to Ivan & Alyosha for allowing me to tape. Enjoy the recording and please support the band.
Ivan & Alyosha
Somerville Theater - Somerville, MA
January 19, 2012