Brandi Carlile | 07.10.13

Brandi-Carlilie 75She apparently has an bottomless well of energy within that, if tapped, could solve the global energy crisis tout de suite!

Brandi-Carlilie 500

The Pageant, St. Louis

Top 10 Things I Learned at the Brandi Carlile Concert


10. The Lone Bellow, opening band for Ms. Carlile, has the power to instantaneously make you a fan. I mean we’re talking 0 to 60, or don’t know you to absolutely love you in about 5 seconds flat. Lead singer Zach Williams started their set. Crouched low over his guitar, he conspiratorially started into the first lines of “You Can Be All Kinds of Emotional” and charmed us all into submission.

9. I am certain that if the song “You Don’t Love Me Like You Used To” had been around in their heyday, one Ms. Dolly Parton and one Mr. Porter Wagoner would have surely made a recording of it. I could just hear them singing it in my head as The Lone Bellow performed it on The Pageant stage.

8. It’s The Lone Bellow’s three-part harmonies that make that instant crush turn into a permanent lock on your heart. In the bluesy, swaying “You Never Need Nobody,” they sing “You could calm a storm with your tone/ Yeah the way you sing makes a mockingbird hum/ The grass you walk on gives way/ Saying, “Please (please), please (please)/ Come back this way.” Yep, that’s pretty much how I feel about this new band love of mine. Please, please come back this way sooner rather than later.

7. Brandi Carlile loves Jameson, telling stories, and is prone to encouraging rowdy behavior. She plays an intelligent mix of her songs, mixing up the slower and more “Sad Bastard” tunes with some “Barn Burners” to keep the audience’s attention. She may know a thing or two about heartache, but this is also a woman who loves a good time and works a stage and crowd like a BOSS. She apparently has an bottomless well of energy within that, if tapped, could solve the global energy crisis tout de suite!

6. The gentlemen in the band are fans of the hat, and I am a fan of that. Lookin’ sharp fellas! Also, wicked good musicians who are absolutely not a backing band. Brandi Carlile does not have a band. She is IN a band.

5. When the stage darkens and the band members come forward with everything unplugged, something special is about to happen. It might be a completely PA-less version of “What Can I Say” that turns into a big crowd sing along and makes all the hairs on your body stand at attention.

4. Next to Antarctica, The Pageant is the coldest place on earth. They also consistently have THE BEST SOUND. A standing ovation for the folks who run the board there.

3. No one ever need cover Radiohead’s “Creep” ever again. Carlile’s done it for all time. Game over. Progressively aggressive, perfectly suited to her gravel bed in a deep dark river of a voice, dirtied up in all the right places, and delivered in that lonesome tone; no one could ever touch what she’s done with that song. Quote of the night: “What do people do who can’t scream the F-word every night?”

2. Carlile and her band love to mix some covers into their set and do so with reverence and enthusiasm. In addition to “Creep”, they rocked Fleetwood Mac’s “The Chain” and closed the show with a rollicking “Folsom Prison Blues” proclaiming, “What kind of hootenanny would it be without one from the late, great Johnny Cash?!”

1. Carlile has created a pretty cool campaign through her Looking Out Foundation ( called “Tithe One On.” As explained on the website (, “Have you ever wished you could go back and thank the stranger who returned your lost wallet, or the cashier at your local store who always helps you carry your groceries, or a friend who came to the rescue during hard times, a family member who’s always been there for you, or someone in your local community who is making a difference? Inspired by the original practice of tithing, being charitable, and the fact that so many kind deeds go unnoticed every day; we want to encourage people to stop, focus on the good, and acknowledge the human acts of kindness we witness in our daily lives. You can show your appreciation to someone special by making a donation to T1O in their name in exchange for a T1O bracelet that you tie on their wrist to symbolize their kind deed. You can share their act of kindness with the world on enabling them to get on the grid and join the culture of kindness. The green cotton T1O bracelets are part of a continuous cord of kindness, representing how one kind deed leads to another.” All of the proceeds benefit a variety of organizations, including Make-A-Wish, Music Cares and Why Hunger. | Janet Noe Rhoads

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