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Precious Riches – Company of Thieves at the Bowery Ballroom

By UrbanAnthropod, March 10, 2010 1:32 am

Openers

The sold-out show opened with AM Taxi, a punk-inspired band from Chicago. Oddly enough, the lead guitarist went through numerous guitar changes. The highlight of the set came when Genevieve Schatz of the headlining act came on stage to perform a song with the band. She sang with a clarity that brightened the accompanying music. I mean no offense when I say this, but I take issue with punk-inspired bands when they take stage wearing a Ramones t-shirt.

The second openers were the South African trio of Civil Twilight. Deconstructed, they featured a funky bass line, tom heavy rock beats and trance-like feedback. As a single unit, they were reminiscent of cross between Dave Matthews, Thom Yorke and Muse tinged with U2. This astonishing mixture obviously worked favorably while not detracting from the uniqueness of their own sound.

Andrew McKellar

Andrew McKellar of Civil Twilight

Steven McKellar

Steven McKellar of Civil Twilight

Precious riches

Honestly, I was a bit unfamiliar with them. During set-up, I noticed a huge gaping hole in the center of the stage. I knew Genevieve could dance around the stage. I’d seen it during the AM Taxi set. But it was odd to see the keyboards, bass and drums partitioned to one side. Directly in front of me at the other end of the stage was the pedal board.

Pedal Board or Mission Control?

Pedal Board or Mission Control?

The band came to the stage and put on a dazzling show. The once mousey Schatz transformed into a sparkling siren. Her exaggerated motions accentuated the deliberateness of her vocals. The receptive crowd sang along by her lead and followed the intensity of her flailing limbs. My spot directly in front of the pedal board left me in awe as I watched Marc Walloch juggle the tasks of playing guitars while singing backup vocals and moving with an intensity on par with their frontwoman. Genevieve’s vocals once again demonstrated to me the talent and volume that can be produced by small packages. The highlight came from the stark contrast of their acoustic version of “Even in the Dark” that seemed sedate compared to the rest of the show. I can say that I definitely became a fan and look forward to them graduating to larger venues in the near future.


Genevieve Schatz
Genevieve Schatz singing Even in the Dark (acoustic)
Genevieve Schatz
Company of Thieves

The album title “Ordinary Riches” refers to a quote by Oscar Wilde about materialism. Here, I’ve witnessed a group of people who have eschewed the material things in their lives to live as vagabonds to fulfill themselves with the sheer joy of performing. I’ve read that they left secure worlds of school and jobs to follow the idea of making music fulltime… a risky proposition that has paid off. While not huge stars, they posses an indie charm and the poise of established acts. As evidenced by the intensity and energy of the show, Company of Thieves wear their precious riches on their sleeves generously sharing them with others.


Pressure by Company of Thieves



*Pictures shot with Canon A720IS, which I recommend in better lighting conditions than this.

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