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Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2012

Blessed Feathers w/ Way Yes @ Stonefly Brewery

Oct. 8, 2012

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Jacquelyn Beaupre' and Donivan Berube of West Bend’s Americana-steeped folk duo Blessed Feathers came to the Stonefly Brewery Monday night to introduce their latest EP, Peaceful Beasts in an Ocean of Weeds, though at times it was easy to forget that. Their headlining set came at the end of a very long line of sassy stand-up comedians and technical problems, as well as a set from Ohio’s Way Yes.

Comedians Seth Davis, Jonah Jurkens, Tony Tudor, Ryan Holman and Lara Beitz interjected enjoyable sheepishness and peer ridiculousness in between the two musical acts, scoring their biggest laughs when riffing on social awkwardness and relationships. Somewhere in between all of the comedy, Way Yes played. Blessed Feathers eventually did, too.

When the boys of Way Yes stepped up to the stage, they gracefully hooked into the engaging pop percussiveness of their songs, homing in on a rather large garbage-can-esque floor tom that had a nearly obscene amount of drum hardware attached to it. In tip-tapping up a storm and employing breezy guitars and easygoing vocals—to match an equally breezy and easygoing set—Way Yes’ short stay was pleasant, but completely vaporous, and it vanished into another round of stand-up before Blessed Feathers took the stage.

From the get-go of sound-check, it was apparent that much of the gear the duo had carefully placed on stage (drums, accordion, pedals, etc.) would go unused for this particular set. Unfixable hums and feedback left Beaupre' and Berube to instead take to the stage armed simply with their voices, banjo and acoustic guitar (some of the strongest roots of their compositions, anyway). Berube, clearly unfazed, sank into the new songs with confidence, and Beaupre’ readily followed Berube’s lead, singing over his drawling voice with cloud-light harmonies. The audience followed suit. Songs that were built with intricate swirls of accordion and dreamy washes of reverb on the new EP (“By Song Through the Americas” and “Hey! All You Floridians”) had the same resonance when stripped down, although through a different channel. Ultimately, they were still absorbing.

The two surprisingly tied up their set after only a handful of songs, Berube half-joking, “so you can all go to sleep.” It was a bit of a shame. Even with that stripped-down setup, it still felt like they had plenty to go on. Maybe they were playing the part of polite hosts, or maybe they were saving their energies for the tour ahead. Here’s hoping the next time they play a Milwaukee show, they give themselves enough time to stretch their legs, because technical difficulties or no, they managed to pull off an enjoyable performance in a city close enough for them to almost truly call home.