Black Carl and Dry River Yacht Club - Crescent Ballroom - 12/20/13
On some weekends, it's a toss-up as to what's the best show in town. The weekend of December 20 was not one of those weekends. Black Carl and Dry River Yacht Club playing their final sets of 2013 was obviously the place to be for Phoenix music aficionados Friday night, when the two biggest bands in town linked up for an early holiday extravaganza in the Valley's best venue, the Crescent Ballroom.
Photos by Jeff Moses
San Diego-based Strat and Mouse opened the show, featuring former members of the band Hyena.
Following Strat and Mouse, singer-songwriter Courtney Marie Andrews took the stage, and for just one woman with a guitar, she commanded quite a large audience. The venue really filled in during her set, and the Valley-born/California-based songstress certainly turned it on for the audience of about 150.
By the time the night's first bill-topper, Dry River Yacht Club, took the stage, it felt sardine-can-tight inside the cavernous venue. The seven-piece -- they were without trombone player Zach Lewis for the night -- fantasy-folk outfit exploded into their set behind the powerful pipes of lead singer Garnet and her impeccable on-stage chemistry with lead guitarist Corey Gloden. All the members of the DRYC are spectacularly talented and entertaining, but something about the way Gloden and Garnet interact on stage is truly special.
"Garnet and I are buddies," Gloden told me. "We met when I was playing in another band called Strange Young Things, and she was playing in a band called Garnet. We've been playing shows together for years, and we're party buddies. We're like brother and sister sometimes."
In the Yacht Club's first show since True Music Festival they stuck mostly to songs off of their November release, El Tigre, and even unveiled a new one in which bass clarinet player Fred Reyes smoothly switched to the saxophone to give the swelled holiday crowd his best Clarence Clemons impression.
"I think we had a great setlist; we've had a really good year," Gloden said. "Crescent has been great to us. We started the year with a four-week residency in January and we ended it here. The crowd was awesome; it's been a while since we played with Black Carl in town. They played with us at our Flagstaff CD release."