Local Bacon complements the brothers

A review of the Bacon Brothers at Showcase Live! on November 9

, Contributing Writer

Two days before the release of New Year’s Day the Bacon Brothers didn’t waste a lot of time on their fan-favorites, but played almost every song off their upcoming album. The area in front of the stage was filled with tables and chairs at Showcase Live! in Foxboro on Friday night, indicating that the Bacon Brothers show was going to be a sit-down sort of event.

The band opened the show with "Tell Me What I Have to Do", a song off the new album which comes out on itunes this week. Kevin banged his tambourine against a cowbell for part of this one and both he and Michael sang while the rest of the talented crew played their instruments to create a full, enjoyable alt-country rock sound that sampled everything from reggae to southern rock to Celtic music over the course of the night.

Kevin joked about the popularity of the topics he writes his music on, & "Which is why so many of our songs are on the radio right now". He& then told the story behind "Architeuthis", a song written about a giant squid that was filmed and featured on the Discovery Channel. Kevin described how researchers brought their cameras down, like underwater paparazzi, to videotape the large sea creature. Michael then& brought out the cello, bowed and plucked it with trancelike dexterity, taking the audience on a journey to that dark, dreamy lair of the squid.

Kevin’s throaty growl on "Too Old for Playboy" was a stark contrast, as Kevin told the audience about how he was rejected for Playboy because the editors wanted to gear the publication towards a younger audience. Although that’s not actually what the song is about, the story was as funny as the song itself. The band was a little low-energy for some of their other songs, but was very lively for this one, and Kevin rocked it out on vocals as he danced around the stage, shaking the tambourine.

Due to their lack of singing, it is suspect whether most of the attendees had ever heard the band’s music before. The songs were so varied it wasn’t evident what the group’s distinct style was or should be. However, "Write a Song" was perfect for Michael’s voice, and it seemed that a Jimmy Buffet does country sort of sound really worked for them.

The title track to the new album "New Year’s Day" stood out among their set list. The charming chorus is reminiscent of Albert Hammond’s "It Never Rains in Southern California" and, although the song has more of a summery quality, it focuses on the Mummer Parade which takes place in the brothers’ hometown of Philadelphia every New Year’s.

Opening act and local busker Steven Bacon turned out to be a welcome addition to the evening. The comforting sound of the Boston-based/Alaska native singer-songwriter’s warm voice washed over the venue at a strolling tempo. Armed with his acoustic guitar and harmonica (in its neck rack), Steven serenaded the audience with folk music that was surprisingly disarming.

Right-away Steven informed the audience that he was not related to the Bacon Brothers, but that he and Kevin did have one thing in common, "We both have a brother with the last name Bacon."

He only played four songs, but his comedic left-wing banter charmed the Democrats in the building, and even the Republicans in attendance probably couldn’t deny his talent. During his song "Proud to be an American" with the lyric "I’m Proud to be an American for the first time in eight years," he jokingly asked for specific help with the chorus, "Now just the Democrats".

Steven described how he emailed Michael Bacon about himself and inquired about opening for them in Foxboro, "I told him we could pretend I’m a Bacon Brother. That it would be good for press." Whatever he really told him, it must have worked.

Following Steven Bacon’s act was another singer-songwriter with local ties, Amy Fairchild, whose career began in Northampton. Ironically her song "Falling Down" was the most upbeat song and best in her set. She joked about Steven, "He was very uplifting, and I’ll do my best to take you down." True to her words, her songs were heavy and sad, and although she has a sweet voice, much of the audience, in the mood for something more lighthearted, began conversing with each other in anticipation for the headliner during her performance.

For their closer, the Bacon Brothers brought both opening acts Amy Fairchild and Steven Bacon on stage to help them with their cover of the Rolling Stones’ "The Last Time", where they threw in the lyrics, "I have to go, because I’m headed down to Foxboro." Some members of the crowd were disappointed they didn’t play "Footloose", but by the glow on his face, it was apparent that Steven Bacon couldn’t have been happier.

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