Laughing City
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inorbit
Laughing Citizen


Curiosity got the better of us, and we turned out for the Dallas show last night. Opinions here, of course, are only my own.

First of all, I will say that I'm glad that we went and that I enjoyed the show. It was nice to hear the songs played, and the elements that were "Eisley" were nostalgic.

That said, it would be dishonest to say that it was "all there", and such wouldn't have been expected. As is perhaps perfectly understandable with different musicians and, I'm sure, very limited rehearsal time to prep for the tour, some elements were conspicuously.... different.

Most objectively, there was what sounded like a complete absence of lead guitar lines (at least audibly). It was hard to tell whether the guitarist was just mixed very, very low, or was playing rhythm/arpeggios/etc. instead, but I think mostly the latter. At any rate, given the prominence of some of the guitar melodies as defining features in some songs, they were definitely missing something without that. I wouldn't have expected the new addition to replicate Chauntelle's style precisely, but the absence of leads altogether was quite stark. I'm pretty sure they had the keys playing one or two of the more critical single note lines. Could there be any possibility that it might have been a conscious decision to leave that piece missing in deference to Chauntelle's absence? Or maybe an exasperating technical issue? I'll probably never know.

Also in objective terms, it seemed like Christie was mostly used for backing vocals (outside of IWPFT), and that Sherie was taking most of Stacy's lead vocal parts. I'm not sure it wouldn't have worked better to have plugged Christie in for Stacy and kept Sherie as Sherie. To an increasing degree, Sherie's and Stacy's vocal styles are very different. While Christie doesn't sound identical to Stacy, my sense is the general vibe is more similar, and it might have preserved some of the feel of some of the Stacy-led material (particularly from Currents) better had they used Christie more. I'm sure they had their reasons. What Christie did, she did very well (as expected).

Less objectively, it has to be said that Weston has come a long way as a drummer and in the development of his own style, and the young guy (I'm told he's a relative) that had joined for the tour did sound noticeably different throughout. This was probably the most immediate and consistent element that gave them away as not quite Eisley. Although different, he did an enthusiastic and competent enough job on most of the more straightforward songs, but I'm not sure he's quite as far along as Weston is, and it showed a bit in the more challenging parts of Mr. Moon and some of the mathier currents stuff.

The keys were kind of in the same boat. Mostly competent, although with an audibly different style/feel then Stacy's playing, but in a couple of passages it would have been difficult to overlook that they just weren't quite there yet (most conspicuously the keyboard runs at the end of shelter, for instance).

On a brighter note, Garron has come a long, long way as a bass player, and was up front and up in the mix, and on some songs in particular this was critical to retaining some semblance of authenticity despite the missing guitar parts. It must be the hair.


So all in all it was kind of a strange effect. At times and in parts, sounding very much like glimpses of classic Eisley - and there were enough of those to make the show worthwhile for a fan, I think. A lot of times where it was Eisley, but very clearly with a difference and missing some non-trivial pieces, and some other times where, to be very honest, it sounded a bit like a not-so convincing Eisley cover band at a talent show, with a very convincing singer. It probably didn't help my perception that drawing comparison to the tour de force that was the last (full lineup, headlining) Eisley show at Trees was unavoidable.

How much more strange it must have seemed to Stacy, who was spotted in the audience talking with Boyd after the set (I assume she caught the show). I can only imagine how weird that must have been for her.


I, personally, would still recommend catching them to fans, although if someone else really wants to hear/assess what (full strength) Eisley sounds like I'm not sure I wouldn't say that it would be better to wait for (optimistically hoped for) sporadic reunion shows, or at least a somewhat more fully developed V2. Nonetheless, I certainly respect Sherie's pluck and perseverance, and hope it pays off, once they get some of the musical kinks worked with the new lineup. The energy and commitment were absolutely there, at least among the family members on stage.

Whether they are best served (or future possible endeavors of "full strength" Eisley are well served), brand-wise, by continuing to call this iteration "Eisley" without qualification is their affair, of course. On one hand, it's keeping it alive. On the other hand, a good sized room full of Copeland fans heard what they thought was Eisley last night. I think even the most loyal Eisley fan would have to concede, kind of but not quite.
Joined: 06 Jan 2008 | Posts: 1749 | Location: Dallas
Last edited by inorbit on Wed Dec 02, 2015 9:35 am; edited 2 times in total
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bigideas
Vintage Newbie


The missing guitar leads - from prior live shows you've seen or from what is on their records? Even when a band does not lose members they don't always replicate the studio versions exactly.

I know some of you have seen Eisley 20+ times. I have only seen them in East Tx in smaller local venues, and it's been quite a while since the last time.

It was probably weird for the band having Stacy watch them, as well.

Do you remember the setlist? I figured they would avoid most Stacy-centric vocal songs.

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inorbit
Laughing Citizen


well, I'm probably mostly comparing to prior live shows but also the records. Some of the guitar parts fluctuate, but quite a few of the main elements are pretty stable across shows and recordings. We saw the full lineup in the same venue last April (2014), so we've seen the currents stuff live previously as well. We're not talking about variation, we're talking about no (audible) lead guitar parts period. Aside from acoustic sets, I've never seen Eisley play anything that way, so its not just that it was within the normal range of live interpretation.

As for the set list, I remember some songs, but will try to piece it together when I can confer with Tahruh (I did have a notebook in my pocket, but ended up there with no pen somehow- yes, I do live in the middle ages).
Two examples of Stacy-sung tracks from Currents that I can say off-hand absolutely were played though were Drink the Water and Shelter.

And agreed, it must have been very weird (and probably unsettling) for them to be playing in front of Stacy (if she was indeed inside for the set).
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wilsmith
Vintage Newbie


In all the live videos I've seen from this tour there is all sorts of lead guitar. I'll post the ones I've come across thanks to Marina...


I agree with having Christie sing more lead, but I imagine for some fans, since she wasn't in Eisley originally, they might take more umbrage to that than having Sherri sing them, especially if it was a song Sherri wrote.

I'm pretty sure the whole family was there or the Nashville show that opened the tour so it wouldn't be the first time Stacy saw the band without her. On the other hand, I don't know if Chauntelle or Weston made the Nashville show, so this might have been their first time seeing the band as is for them. Weston did do tour rehearsals with them though.

Marvelous Things - Lead lines through the verses and bridge all there https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a-awyu1pMi8

Shelter - All kinds of lovely lead lines not on the original track https://youtu.be/6MAKtAT6d2s

Currents - They did a similar dance punk type intro to this one that they did for the Valley on the Currents tour, Garron and Remington get to really get into a groove, and since the lead is the main melody of the song, the guitar gets to shine, and also, more prominent lead https://youtu.be/_BYLUEdr7hI

Sounds like you got a bum mix Confused

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inorbit
Laughing Citizen


I dunno on the guitar Wil. I kind of hear what you are saying, but then again what you can hear her playing on these sounds like its mostly pretty mid-dy, which makes it easy for it to get lost in the mix, and at least two of these the camera is fairly close to the monitor (in the case of the last one, like within three feet!) and might be picking up more than the mix. Could have been a show-specific mix issue though, I suppose.

Glad to see they got some YT coverage on this outing after all. Tried to check for some earlier in the tour and crickets. And the couple I took a listen to while eating at my desk here sounded pretty good. I think some of the Dallas show performances might have suffered a bit from a more exaggerated version of Sherrie's vocal style, from over-exuberance playing near home or from road fatigue, I know not which. But her increasingly used crutch of stretching each word for dramatic emotive emphasis and dragging way behind the beat works best in small doses (very, very small, - imperceptibly small, preferably), and tends to throw everything else off when it gets out of hand. Glad to hear it sound like maybe she toned it down a bit at some of the other shows. She does really well when she doesn't rely on those kinds of forced stylistic affectations so much (or at all).

If they played the same set as in Dallas (and so the Currents clip was their opener) it sounds like they got a warm reception in California, which is nice to see.

Didn't spot either Weston or Chauntelle at the show (which doesn't mean they weren't there, of course).

so here's an approximate, probably partial set list reconstructed from memory, order will be wrong in some places, possibly very wrong, and it's possible that maybe I missed some, but this is in the ballpark:

Currents
Smarter
Marvelous Things
Brightly Wound
Mr. Moon
Sea King
Blue Fish (a bright spot- Sherri at her hyperdramatic best)
Invasion
Drink the Water
IWPFT
Shelter
And I'm wracking my mind trying to remember if they played Please and/or Sad as well, or if I'm just imagining things.

Not a bad selection at all, all in all, for an opening set. One or two I could probably lived without, and of course, quite a few I would liked to have heard that didn't make the list.
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Last edited by inorbit on Fri Dec 04, 2015 12:33 pm; edited 1 time in total
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wilsmith
Vintage Newbie


I refrained from linking a couple of clips because of the audio or performance issues, and your peeve about the vocal quirks is something I share and agree with. And I was thinking about the mix and closeness to the stage impacting the guitars when I linked it. I was going to acknowledge it, but then I thought, well, it's more me wanting to show that she is at least playing parts, whether they're heard or not.

I was going to link Smarter, cause in that she's playing just about all the guitar and when the solo comes in, she plays Max's part, and then Sherri's part, because Sherri doesn't like playing guitar sometimes, which is a bummer. I can understand wanting to focus on singing, and how doing the two simultaneously is a bastard sometimes, especially when the rhythm and melodies re divergent. The burden falls on whoever has to cover the loss. But they are making it work. The instrumental breaks they are working into the songs really showcase chemistry and energy that's worth tapping into, if that's what they choose to do.

Also, there's a vocal run, just a small part at this moment that's unlike anything I've ever heard her sing before and is arguably the best I have ever heard her voice sound in that range. She starts high, drops into an alto and back up to soprano, loses her wind a bit, and sounds remarkably affecting without sounding like she was trying to do something stylistically, just singing passionately https://youtu.be/Gd2VIvtMn-M?t=2m52s

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tungsten
Sea Post King


From the clips I've heard, I'm definitely missing Stacy and Chauntelle. Christie is doing great but it's just not quite working for me. Stacy was just too big a part of Eisley for it to really work. The only way I see it working is if Chauntelle came back and became more of a vocal and songwriting prescience, and keep Christie as a 3rd vocalist.
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TheAntrider
Protocol Droid


Finally listened to some videos, and I'm sad I missed out. Another thing I can hate grad school for ...
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rchamp
Sea Post King


Marvelous Things from front row in New Orleans on 12/4/15. Instrumentation is pretty much from the onstage amps so you can't really hear the keys or second guitar much but it did sound great that night. https://youtu.be/t-pg7a4d-zw
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tahruh
Vintage Newbie


Ha, didn't know Inorbit reviewed the show. Well, might as well give my input:
With the exception of Brightly Wound, I thought the performances were honestly quite poor. Christie, admittedly, wasn't always easy to hear, but from what I did hear, it wasn't the Christie I was used to. Then again, she wasn't singing the songs I'm used to. Laughing It was one of their last shows, so I imagined they'd be better rehearsed. It just wasn't working for me. Confused I guess a bad show isn't reason enough to write them off, but honestly, I really don't think I'll be checking out this line-up next time. It should be noted, I really am not a fan of Sherri's strained vocal style and voice these days, so other peoples' mileage may vary heavily.

It was sad to see Stacy in the audience. Didn't think I'd feel as nostalgic as I did. But that second to last show we caught was really a gem. We didn't know what we had!! Come back, guys!! Crying or Very sad Laughing

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The Man In The Moon
Lost at Forum


hi, i've been away for a while since this place is mostly dead. i posted this elsewhere already, and i'll post it again here. personally, i thought their nashville show was the best i've seen them. if i close my eyes and don't look at the band, i wouldn't know it was different members playing those instruments (sorry, just saying). honestly, most of the audience had heard of eisley, but weren't uber fans like the majority of people are here and i could tell that the audience thought they were pretty good.

all that being said, i really like the new interpretations and the mixing up of vocal parts, but i'm also the kind of artist that gets really into that kind of thing, where most people would find "controversial." i'm not overly attached to how something was done or use to sound, i think it's all interesting and has it's merits if you give it the chance.

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