You wouldn’t know Ingram Hill were all that good live from listening to their CD. Not to knock the CD, it is quality, but its just like The Killers or Franz Ferdinand or Lifehouse. Eh, I won’t turn it off. But, then I probably won’t turn it on either. Live, they rock out. Seeing them live made me want to listen to the CD again.
My friends F and Lindsay said, “You should go to this show. You’ll like it. They opened for Johnny Lang last year…” And on and on. I like live music. I like it a lot. I find it hard to say no to live shows, so of course I said yes. That, and thanks to the Student Committee on Programming and Entertainment on the University of Iowa campus, the show was only six bucks. At its worst, I spent six bucks in support of a crappy band and wasted precious nap time standing between sweaty frat boys. Thankfully, this four piece from Memphis lived up to their hype.
It never fails that at a show on campus there is always some gigantic, unmoving frat boy or an annoying girlfriend at every show. Lucky for us there were both at this show. The annoying girlfriend announced that she was the only person in the room who probably even knew the band’s music. (They just played in Iowa City last May. Doubtful, sweetie.) And the frat boy went on a 10-minute tirade about how there were mostly girls at the show because girls didn’t get into hard rock. We all scrunched up our brows and looked at each other.
The last show we all went to was Index Case and I’m rearranging my work schedule to see Bury Your Dead in two weeks. Sure, whatever. Girls don’t dig hard music. His tirade was ended by his girlfriend seeing a band member and going shrieking off into the distance.
They played in the Wheel Room in the basement of the Iowa Memorial Union, an area normally full of tables and chairs and well, things you’d expect to find in the student union. The show was small and intimate, maybe a hundred people crowded around the stage. The Wheel Room has the feel of a seeing a band at a house party, you’re that close.
The difference between the CD and the live performance is amazing. Live, they seem to put everything they’ve got into it. Frequently, Phil Bogard broke out into a guitar solo and that’s as it should be, he is amazing. It’s nice when musicians deviate from what’s on the CD in favor of a little improvisation. I bounced and jittered to the music, knocking into the guy next to me a few times. Matt Chambless looked bored for the better part of the show, but the drum kit was still well played. I go to shows to feel the music, and between Chambless and bass player Shea Sowell, I felt every beat. Nothing beats a good rhythm section.
Justin Moore laughs like a girl and he did plenty of that tonight. Easily half of the female audience members spent the whole show trying to decide which band member they wanted to take home, and they let the band know by shouting things like, “Justin, I want your body!” And, “Take it off!” Moore taunted the audience back between songs, but his main focus was on the music. Moore’s singing at times seemed a little bluesy, giving the whole show a feel of returning to rock’s roots. They covered Pink Floyd and Tom Petty in addition to playing a new song and one of their B-sides. They ended the show with An Elvis cover, so well done that F actually turned to me after the show and said, “Wait, who’s song was that? I know, I just can’t think of what the original sounds like…”