By: Katie Pinter, Staff Writer
Photo By: Katie Pinter
After trekking into the unknown territory that is downtown Nelsonville, I was pleasantly surprised to find an entire block party centered around a last minute Southeast Engine show.
Friday's show was part of the free summer concert series held by Stuart's Opera House. Obviously, it's now sweater weather instead of summer, but this change of season seemed to fit better with the tone of the band. The event was also part of the town's Final Fridays on the Square, an art event that closes off the center of town so that people can walk around to the different galleries and art shops. Overall, the sense of community was really strong since a lot of people came out that night, with the largest group centered around the stage.
The show was set up outside in a small, empty parking lot across from Stuart's, which is not exactly ideal for a chilly fall evening. People just camped out on blankets or folding chairs or the cold asphalt, like myself. It's interesting to note the number of families that were present. Although there were a lot of aging hipsters and college age kids present, many young families with hyper toddlers were there as well. Good to known they're keeping them cultured while they're young.
I arrived about four songs into the band's first set, and it was very apparent that the crowd was feeling it. All of the children were dancing and playing close to the stage as Southeast Engine charmed on with their folk rock. Seeing the kids bop around created a nice vibe - you could just feel everyone letting themselves take the time to enjoy the show.
The band's line-up did not include bass player Jesse Remnant, but had a cool-looking guy wearing a blazer sub for him. The only downside to this was that the harmonies were not as prominent throughout the tracks as they usually are. Instead, lead singer Adam Remnant carried the vocals, starting off with songs from their album Canary.
After the next song, drummer Leo DeLuca started giving some background information about their group. He mentioned that he and Adam started the band as teens back in Dayton, OH and they listened to a lot of another band from the area. That band was Guided By Voices and Leo added that the next few tracks would be from GBV, off their album Bee Thousand.
Leo and the band quickly played through two of the GBV tracks and then took a break before their second set. In this time, everyone wandered around to the shops and galleries and I managed to snag some hot chocolate and a grilled Nutella and banana sandwich. Needless to say, I was having a great night and eagerly headed back to the lot as the band dove into its second act.
Continuing on with more GBV tracks, Southeast Engine really connected with the crowd because everyone around me seemed to be either singing or just grooving along to the music. The guys' cover of "I Am A Scientist" was just perfect - so sweet and simple.
The night finally came to an end with one last cover, "Down By The River" by Neil Young. Halfway through the song, the band turned the song into a jam session, with each member showing off their chops while Adam laid out his killer guitar skills with an impressive blusey rock solo.
As the band wrapped up its set, I thought back to something Adam had said earlier that night: "We'd been looking around for the ideal place to play around Athens, and I think this is it." Looking around the crowd, I don't think anyone would have disagreed.