The two bands that played the 7th Street Entry Thursday night each brought their own perspective to the challenge of dealing with life.
Dirt Train took the stage promptly at 830 and provided the perfect musical accompaniment for a low key night at the bar. The streets outside were wet and shining, illuminated by the lights of the city, made clean by a purging downpour. Dirt Train’s melancholy rock about strange travel, thankless toil, and painful love was a head-bobbing affirmation that, while life may not always be sunshine, there is something beautiful to be experienced while sipping a brew in your favorite dive bar during a moment after the storm.
Dirt Train played songs from their forthcoming album, blurring the boundaries between blues, country rock, and grungy Americana. A highlight of the set was the single “Leave Me Alone,” which channels lead singer Tucker Jensen’s angsty, unique voice into an almost optimistic sadness.
Another standout moment was a cover of The Beatles “Got to Get You Into My Life.” While I stand by my assertion that no one but Joe Cocker should be allowed to cover Beatles’ songs, this track showed the skill and adaptability of the band, who provided a gritty arrangement that folded the classic song seamlessly into the Dirt Train aesthetic.
Dirty Revival took an alternate approach to the existence which we all must endeavor to navigate. The seven-piece funk band from Portland, OR drove halfway across the country to give the crowd what they came for, an opportunity to dance, sing, stomp and clap along with the boundless energy channeled through the group.
Singer Sarah Clarke encouraged the audience to live their best life, take a stand against power, and find joy in the choices of this world. She practiced what she preached as she belted out the lead vocals to her group’s uptempo funk and rhythm & blues, while MC and guitarist Evan Simko handled the spoken word flow.
The band included a phenomenal horn section, with Chris Hardin (Tenor Sax) and Thomas Barber (Trumpet) synchronized in the forefront of a tight group of professional players who obviously have history and comfort with one another.
Another solid moment emerged as Dirty Revival covered the Leadbelly classic “Where Did You Sleep Last Night.” The song started off as a funeral hymn, with the smooth keys of Ben Turner accompanying Clark’s vocals, and built into a soulful R&B war cry.
As the ghosts of the legendary acts who have graced the stage at 7th Street swirled and applauded, the group commanded their little corner of the world and filled it with mirth, beauty, and song. The music was a connecting force in the room and, in this life of uncertainty and chaos, I suppose moments like that are all one can hope for.