Concert Review

Bombadil’s album release extravaganza at Cat’s Cradle, 11/12/11

I have discovered that in my later years (well, I’m only 21, but still) I have become more lazy and less inclined to ever leave Raleigh to do anything. Especially to do something that requires money, like go to a concert.

Add Bombadil to the picture and it changes things completely.

On Saturday, Nov. 12, Bombadil graced Cat’s Cradle with their album release party for All That The Rain Promises, the long awaited new album from this local band that is comprised of four very talented men: Bryan Rahija, Stuart Robinson, Daniel Michalak, and James Phillips. The show opened with local favorites Future Kings of Nowhere and Jay Kutchma and the Five Fifths, two groups that don’t play too much around the Triangle right now.

Seeing the lineup, I knew I had to get out of Raleigh for a night. So I filled up my gas tank, picked up some friends, and made my way to Carrboro after feasting on some delicious pre-Bombadil steak tacos cooked for us by Laser Beard, who also served as our photographer that night. We hoped to get to the Cradle early enough to get a rose, but arrived just a little too late. Instead we ate some cookies and milk (thanks Bombadil!) and moved toward the stage as Future Kings of Nowhere set up and tuned their instruments.

Future Kings of Nowhere was full of energy and a lot of fun. They played a selection which included new songs and started and ended with the crowd favorites “Let’s Be Pirates” and “10 Simple Murders.” I was really excited to see Jay Kutchma and the Five Fifths next. Red Collar always put on high energy shows and I was curious to see how Jay Kutchma would be without the rest of Red Collar. The excitement was for good reason. Kutchma’s stage presence was intense, the set starting with slower rock songs with a twang and building in energy until Kutchma was jumping up and down with his guitar accompanied by an enthusiastic Five Fifths. The bass player is the one who stuck out in my memory; he looked like he was having the time of his life on stage. Kutchma made sure to include powerful monologues as well, which is something that he has brought over from Red Collar. Overall, the opening bands were really fantastic and provided high energy that grew even higher while waiting for Bombadil to take the stage.

I can say without a doubt that everybody in the audience on Saturday night was truly excited for Bombadil to get on stage. The last time the band played was two months prior at Hopscotch Music Festival. The last time Bombadil played at Cat’s Cradle was December 2010, opening for the Avett Brothers at their surprise show. When a talented band like Bombadil does not play often, you know that when they do play it’s going to be a good time.

This was definitely the case for Saturday night. Wearing colorful embroidered and painted blazers, Bombadil opened the show with the old song “Jellybean Wine” which earned a huge cheer from the audience. They continued through a great mix of old and new songs with the audience giving wholehearted applause and the band grinning and thanking us for coming repeatedly throughout the night.

I think one of the best things about Bombadil is that the music they make is meaningful. After hearing bands play music that has no emotion or has no point, it is refreshing to listen to Bombadil and also to see a band that shares your excitement for being there. Highlights of the night included “Laundromat,” “I Will Wait,” “A Question,” “One Whole Year,” “The Pony Express,” and “Leather Belt” off of All That The Rain Promises and old songs like “Honeymoon,” “Oto the Bear,” “Marriage,” “Johnny,” “Three Saddest Words,” “Smile When You Kiss,” “So Many Ways To Die,” and “Cavaliers Har Hum.”

The band put on an amazing performance that the audience just didn’t want to end. Two encores later, the band had to ask the audience to stop cheering because they simply hadn’t prepared anything else to play. We certainly wore the band thin and I enjoyed every minute of Bombadil’s performance on Saturday night.

I only have one request for Bombadil: can we do it again?