Virtual gallery: Jesse Marchant and Bishop Allen at The BEATnik
Prior to Bishop Allen’s recent album release, Lights Out, the band had yet to generate new music since 2009, with Grrr…, an album that received little fanfare from the critics and may have been one of the reasons for the band’s hiatus.
What’s more, Bishop Allen hadn’t toured in more than four years. The last time the band played New Orleans was in 2004 at the now defunct Mermaid Lounge. Needless to say, the city and its venue situation has changed considerably since their last visit. This time around, the band played one of New Orleans’ newest venues, The BEATnik (formerly The Big Top).
As the opening act for Bishop Allen, singer, song writer and multi-instrumentalist musician Jesse Marchant delivered a set consisting of folk infused tunes with a sporadically haunting undertone. Marchant's music effortlessly rippled through the BEATnik’s air, fortuitously in-sync with the venue’s intimate vibe.
For the main event, Bishop Allen took the stage, quickly tuned their instruments and launched almost instantly into their first song. The set was primarily comprised of material off the new CD as well as a few tracks from Grrr…, July and The Broken String, but sadly nothing from the Charm School album. The lack of of older material was a bit sad for long-time Bishop Allen fans. Nonetheless, the crowd maintained an enthusiastic energy, off which, naturally, the band fed. Fans were pleasantly surprised to find that the new songs from Lights Out play well live and sound even better in person than on the the disc itself, exemplifying Bishop Allen's raw talent.
For more information about the BEATnik, check out NolaVie's Club Spotlight featuring the Central City venue.