Photos and article by Ashley Lucas
Last night, The Lone Bellow melted me at the Harvester. I’m not going to lie, this will not be a totally objective review. I am a true Lone Bellow fan and I have been since the release of their self-titled debut album in 2013. Their harmonies are hypnotizing, their songs are simple but chilling, and their own special blend of indie-folk is right up my alley. Unfortunately, I had never gotten the opportunity to see them live, until last night, and it was 100% worth the wait to see them (front row) at the Harvester.
If you haven’t visited the Harvester, get to Rocky Mount immediately. The sound was perfect, even sitting about 6 feet from the front speaker. I don’t know how they do it, but every time I see a show there, it seems like the acoustics keep getting better and better. Every show feels intimate, a feeling shared by Lone Bellow leader singer, Zach Williams, who commented, “I like this place. It feels like we’re playing in a living room.”
The band opened the show with a gorgeous rendition of the final song off their first album, “I Let You Go”. The excited crowd was silent so they could soak in every note of the trio’s perfect three part harmonies. As the band played “You Can Be All Kinds of Emotional” I didn’t yet realize that they were exactly right; I was about to experience a multitude of emotions over the course of their set. From an ear-to-ear smile during the upbeat “You Don’t Love Me Like You Used To”, to a face full of tears during guitarist, Brian Elmquist’s soulful vocals on “Watch Over Us”, to sheer amazement and envy during vocalist and mandolin player, Kanene Pipkin’s, almost heart stopping version of their unreleased song, “Lovely in Blue”. She was lovely in blue, and even at a glowing 36 weeks pregnant, she wasn’t slowed down a bit.
I would highly doubt any Lone Bellow fan left feeling disappointed by the setlist. All their greatest hits made an appearance: “Fake Roses”, “The One You Should’ve Let Go”, “Two Sides of Lonely”, and my personal favorite, “You Never Need Nobody”. During the final song, “Green Eyes and a Heart of Gold”, singer Williams was joined by his adorable young daughter on stage. Of course, she had a beautiful voice, just like dad. The encore consisted of a haunting version of “Tree to Grow” in which the band repeats “I’ll never leave, I’ll always stay, I swear on all that I keep safe,” which at that moment, I was hoping the Lone Bellow would never leave and always stay. That number was followed by crowd favorite “Then Came the Morning”, which the audience was taught the low and high harmonies of the chorus and encouraged to sing along. It seemed like everyone in the crowd was singing perfectly in key. And that’s the key to success for this band: three (or the entire Harvester audience) voices united in a lone bellow.