Live Concert Photography: Freakwater with Drunken Prayer and Jaye Jayle
The Bell House
February 16, 2016
Last month, my dear friend C and I were at The Bell House in Gowanus, Brooklyn to catch Freakwater, Jaye Jayle and Drunken Prayer — and it fell in between an extraordinarily busy period that included the 10th Annual Donuts Are Forever Party at Brooklyn Bowl among a flurry of shows and other events throughout February. Now, if you’ve been frequenting JOVM over the course of its six year history, you might be familiar with Drunken Prayer, the recording project of Morgan Christopher Geer, who currently splits his time between Portland, OR and Asheville, NC. Formerly a member of Asheville, NC-based act The Unholy Trio and several other local bands, Geer wrote many of Drunken Prayer’s first songs while woodshedding on a form in Sonoma County, CA.
Into the Missionfield, Geer’s Drunken Prayer debut was released in 2012 to critical praise both locally and nationally — Portland’s Willamette Week describing Geer as a “barking ringleader with chops between Tom Waits and The Butthole Surfers‘ Gibby Haynes” and the Portland Mercury describing Geer as “Warren Zevon’s medium, showing him the world from the great beyond.” Since then Geer has been rather prolific realizing several lyrically and sonically ambitious albums that have been praised for his signature sound — a sound that meshes elements of the blues, country, folk music, 60s psych and soul music and New Orleans-styled funeral dirges paired with lyrics that explore our existence through the prism of the tragicomic. After all, my dear friends, life more often than not manages to be painfully and bitterly ironic. And in those moments, the only thing you can do is as the old song — and I paraphrase very poorly — says “Laugh and never let the world know that deep down, you’re crying.”
Interestingly, Geer has been pretty busy. Not only has he been touring to support his fourth and latest effort The Devil and the Blues with a stripped down version of Drunken Prayer, he’s also a touring member of that night’s headliner Freakwater — more on them a little bit.
Following Geer was Jaye Jayle. Jaye Jayle is the alter ego and solo side project of Evan Patterson, best known as the frontman of Louisville, KY-based band Young Widows. Featuring collaborations with a loose collection of locally-based musicians including Old Baby‘s Glen Wood, Lowe Sutherland, Jim Marlow and others, Patterson’s Jaye Jayle is radical departure from the work he’s best known for; in fact, Jaye Jayle’s recorded material leans more towards restrained, acoustic singer/songwriter-based material while Young Widows has developed a reputation for aggressive cacophony. Live however, their sound reminded me quite a bit of Toadies and others — or in other words desert and blacktop inspired stoner rock, complete with enormous, sludgy power chords.
Formed back in 1989 by its founding members Janet Bean and Catherine Irwin, Freakwater has developed a reputation for being one of the most innovative acts in alt-country as their sound meshes old-timey Appalachian Mountain folk and murder ballads and carefully crafted, seemingly AM radio-inspired pop and country. Naturally, their material generally explores themes of love and loss — and at times with an aching sincerity and a playfully winking sense of irony.
Check out some photos from the show below.
For these photos and more, check out the Flickr set here: