Last night Drew and I drove down to Columbus to see Miles Kurosky, who you might likely remember from his work with Beulah. We don’t go down to Columbus for shows very often because it’s a two and a half hour drive and we’re lucky to make it back home before two, but the Miles show was completely and totally worth it & was, I would venture to say, the best show we’ve seen in Columbus so far. So, I will refrain from crabbing about spending too much time in the car, missing Lost (for the second week in a row!), and continuously squandering my paychecks.
Anyway, we started off the night with dinner at Dirty Frank’s with some of Drew’s pals before heading to the Basement for the Miles show. As we got closer to the Basement we started to get a little apprehensive because there were people everywhere and signs for “Special Event Parking” all over the place. It turns out that there was a Tegan and Sara show happening at the venue next store, so there were what seemed like thousands of people (all with eerily similar haircuts) milling around… and maybe about 30 people at the Mile show. Miles addressed the disparity between the two shows during some in between songs chatting, saying that he was texting his wife about it & how he was feeling kind of down about the Columbus show apparently being the smallest show they’ve played yet, until his wife said, “You wouldn’t want those kids and their haircuts at your show anyway,” which I thought was both funny and sweet.
I know that sometimes it can feel like a downer for an artist to play to a small crowd, but coming from the perspective of someone out in the crowd, I love small shows. I think that part of it is just that I seem to have bad luck with crowds — I always seem to be significantly shorter than whoever wants to stand in front of me, if people get rowdy I tend to catch an elbow in the chest or a foot in the head (which is what happened when we saw Modest Mouse in Columbus this past summer), or I get a significant amount of beer splashed on me. So, it was really, really awesome to be at a show where none of those things happened & I instead got to enjoy an awesome band playing an awesome set to a crowd that was obviously enjoying the experience of being there.
Miles was touring in promotion of his recent solo album, The Desert of Shallow Effects, a gorgeous ten song pop romp that I think pretty much anyone on the planet could enjoy. The songs on Shallow Effects seem to come from a story-telling sort of place & are both lyrically and musically rich. Every song has a distinct texture to it & when you listen to the album, you really feel like you’re listening to something — that probably seems like a weird, empty thing to say, so I hope you can figure out what I mean. The band played the bulk of Shallow Effects and closed the night with a number of Beulah covers, including “Emma Blowgun’s Last Stand” from Beulah’s album, “When Your Heartstrings Break.” The band was wonderful with a really lush, full sound. Every song had beautiful vocals and great melodies, both things that made Shallow Effects and Miles’ work with Beulah so appealing.
After the show, Miles stuck around to talk with fans, so Drew and I decided to say hello. Honestly, I can’t imagine a friendlier, more courteous guy. We talked for easily 15 minutes or so — which is a long conversation to have when you know you might have to have similar conversations with the rest of the audience & Miles was very funny, very gracious, and all around likable. He mentioned that he expected this to be his last tour, which made me extra glad that we had made the drive down.
Miles is midway through his US tour & you can see his remaining dates here. If he’s coming anywhere near you, I highly recommend taking the time to see the show. I also recommend picking up a copy of The Desert of Shallow Effects. It’s currently out on CD and the vinyl will be available in mid-April. (If you’re able to catch Miles on tour, they’re selling copies of the vinyl on the road.)
Not related so much to music, but still related to the general topic of Miles Kurosky: the shirts that Miles is selling on this tour are some of the best I’ve seen at shows recently. According to Miles’ website, shirts should be available on the site in mid-April. If you are the kind of person who likes to buy band t-shirts, these ones will not disappoint.
If you like what you hear on The Desert of Shallow Effects, be sure to check out Beulah too. Miles still maintains a Beulah website where you can order Beulah albums and t-shirts. You should also check out the Beulah documentary A Good Band is Easy to Kill.
Lastly (not related to Miles, but still related to music), if you’re in the Cleveland area & you don’t have plans tonight, the Strange Boys are playing at Now That’s Class with a bunch of local bands. Drew has just started playing with Prisoners, a local Cleveland group, & his first show with them is tonight. If you’re a fan of garage rock, this is probably a good use of your $5.