Blind Pilot recently played three packed shows in New York City. The Portland, OR band is touring to support their new album We Are the Tide, which was released this past October. The two NYC shows sold out quickly, but the band was able to add a third evening in the city, and I caught their last night at Brooklyn’s Music Hall of Williamsburg.
Ice Cream Man has been a fan of the band ever since they released their debut album 3 Rounds and A Sound (2008), and jammed with us at Lollapalooza back in 2009. We caught up with them again at Austin City Limits in 2010 where they played a fantastic set. Their new tour was high on our must-sees, especially with opener Dan Mangan for some of the West Coast dates.
Gregory Alan Isakov (Boulder, CO) was the opener for the Brooklyn show. He captivated the audience with music that reminded me of David Gray, and lines of Johnny Cash. I thoroughly enjoyed his set, and thought he was a perfect compliment to the night.
Blind Pilot played a really great show in Brooklyn. I usually wonder if a band will still have the same energy after playing a city two or three times in a row, but both the band and the crowd seemed to be in sync for the night. Singer Israel Nebeker even asked the crowd if there were people out there who had made it to one of the previous shows, and there were enough yelps from fans to know that these guys have a loyal following.
It’s really nice to see when a band connects with the crowd. At one point in the night Israel had a big smile on his face, and then commented that the only thing he could see were two girls dancing together under a spotlight on the upper balcony. He then went on to compliment their dancing skills. My favorite part of the evening was during the last song of their encore. Blind Pilot ended the night with an unplugged version of the song “3 Rounds and a Sound.” The band hopped down into the audience and set up their instruments on the ground. What made this special and different was that the audience in the front sat down on the floor so that everyone could see, and even Israel had to comment that this was a first for him and the band. The lyrics and melody to “3 Rounds and a Sound” are so beautiful, that it was actually enjoyable and touching to hear the majority of the audience singing along. I was lucky to be right in the front, and it felt like a private concert.
The band played for a solid hour and a half, which was noticeably longer than most headliners at the Music Hall. They alternated between songs from both 3 Rounds and a Sound and their new record We Are the Tide. The audience sang along to hits such as “One Red Thread,” and “The Story I Heard.” People got a little quieter when new songs were played, but I thought their recent material was even better. I really like the tracks “Half Moon” and “We Are the Tide,” but the whole album is great and worth a listen from start to finish.
If you haven’t really listened to either record by Blind Pilot, do yourself a favor and get them. This is one band that is great live and on their recordings.