Featuring Nashville folk band The Vespers and Colorado-based SHEL, Thursday night's show at The Square Room kept it all in the family.
Openers SHEL are comprised of four sisters -- Sarah, Hannah, Eva and Liza Holbrook -- whose initials make up the band's name. Playing a variety of instruments including mandolin, fiddle, percussion and piano, Shel's musicianship and crowd interaction made them more than just a warm-up act -- a fact the audience soon recognized as they shouted for song after song.
When The Vespers did arrive, it was to an excited crowd already familiar with their bluegrass-esque folk tunes. Composed of a set of sisters, Phoebe and Callie Cryar, and a set of brothers, Taylor and Bruno Jones, the chemistry between the group because of their family ties came across with high effect for The Square Room's patrons.
Together, the two groups related on more than just a family level. Their reliance on vocal harmonies and folk instrumentation linked The Vespers and SHEL, two groups who fit the atmosphere of a "listening room" like The Square Room perfectly.
They also provided a perfect musical contrast. Where SHEL was soft, wispy and understated, The Vespers, led by powerful vocalist Phoebe Cryar, were loud and confident with just the right amount of Nashville twang.
Intensified by the receptive audience and minimalist beauty of The Square Room, the night was both captivating and enjoyable, due mostly to the the combination of the two acts that functioned more as equals than as a musical hierarchy.
The combination of fire and subtlety matched these two young groups together in the best way, providing listeners with a simple, elegant relatable representative of the next generation of female-led indie-folk and all the sweetness and awe they bring with them.