Southern rock & roll. Vintage blues. Southwestern Americana. Alternative country roots. Soulful bluegrass. Indie folk. Jazz-influenced funk. Hiss Golden Messenger embodied all of these Thursday night at the Broadberry. As a performance that was difficult to genrify, the band went on a myriad roller coaster of genre elements, incurring body-swaying, head-bopping, hand-clapping and foot-tapping movements within the crowd.
With the gracefully pure and deeply-rooted, acoustic opening performance by Nashville-based artist, Lilly Hiatt, Thursday’s show was a beautiful blend of raw and organic vocals, overwhelmingly poignant. Hiatt’s set was a rooted country performance with a lyricism that came to life with impassioned storytelling. An uplifting yet vulnerable account, Hiatt combined personal heartbreak with a perceptibly defiant triumphancy.
For Hiss Golden Messenger, the stage was set with delicately strung incandescent light bulbs, floating atop the band’s Bohemian-rugged platform. Potent incense permeated the venue, establishing the fact that music – especially in the five-piece’s performance – is so much more than a listening experience. The Broadberry was brimming with fans of all different ages and musical tastes, united in the sound that is solely Hiss Golden Messenger’s.
Beyond the versatility in sonics, the band demonstrated their wide arsenal of instrumental talent. Electric guitars, acoustic guitars, a trumpet, a harmonica, tambourines, a keyboard, a bass and drums. The Durham-based band successfully blended the starkly different instrumentation into a finely woven and well-knit show.
Between the two performances, the entire show was a paradoxical mix of electric and acoustic arrangements. Both filling in the gaps of the other, complimenting the voids. Michael Taylor, the lead singer and songwriter of the band, integrated ethereal sonics with a lyricism that encompassed both a gentle realism and a whimisical idealism. Groovy yet grounded, Hiss Golden Messenger’s melodic unison invigorated Taylor’s lyrics leaving the crowd in a rock & roll, rhythm & blues daydream.
Make sure to check out upcoming events at the Broadberry for the next show!
Words by Anna Menedez, Photos by Joey Wharton