On Tuesday night, Hermit’s Victory and Brave Baby took the stage at The Commodore for night three of the Hearts & Plugs September Residency at The Commodore. Originally, the show was billed as Hermit’s Victory with a Surprise Guest, and the afternoon before the show, it was announced that Brave Baby was the second band. Despite the late announcement, The Commodore was totally packed out. It was great seeing all the familiar faces in the crowd, so many like-minded people who are collectively the reason why the Charleston music scene has become such a vibrant, growing community.
|Hermit’s Victory at The Commodore.|
According to the Hermit’s Victory backstory, frontman Tyler Bertges locked himself in his room over the course of a year, writing and recording the songs that ended up on his self-titled debut LP. After seeing him perform live for the first time on Tuesday at The Commodore, I can say that Tyler’s stage presence really fits that description. I’m not sure if he plays it up for the sake of a performance, or if he really feels a certain level of discomfort in the face of a crowd, but either way you can see it in the way that he conducts himself on stage. From the lowered head, to the backpack, to the sweatshirt tied around his waist, to the extra shirt hanging over his shoulder, he’s got a unique charm that makes you wonder what’s going on inside his head, and helps to draw you into his sound.
Prior to the show I played Hermit’s Victory on repeat a few times to get an idea of what to expect, and while I enjoyed the chillness and lyrical quality of the record, I enjoyed the live performance even more. The live sound was much more full than that of the record, and that was largely thanks to the array of local musicians who joined the stage with Tyler, including Wolfgang Zimmerman (who recorded and produced the album) and Christian Chidester of Brave Baby, amongst others. The extra musicians brought the laid-back, eerie Hermit’s Victory songs to a more upbeat level that really got the people moving, without the sacrifice of the emotional impact at the root of the album.
What I’m really trying to say is that you should go see Hermit’s Victory live if you have the chance. You won’t be disappointed. Stream the self-titled Hermit’s Victory below and hear it for yourself.
|Brave Baby at The Commodore. Photo: @gabriellanatali|
After Hermit’s Victory finished up, Brave Baby took the stage to close out the night. It was exciting to see them play such a small venue, and even more so in front of a bunch of locals that pretty much knew all the words to every song. There was a certain connected feeling between the band and the crowd that made for a great show. It was like one big group of friends hanging out, drinking, sweating, and enjoying Brave Baby, with Brave Baby. Whether or not we knew each other on a personal level didn’t matter, because the music was enough to bring us all together.
The evening itself was one big highlight, but a major standout moment for me was their performance of “Forty Bells”, when Clay White, who had played with Hermit’s Victory earlier in the night, jumped up on stage with his trumpet to add that horn sound that I love so much in the studio version. I’ve said before that its my favorite Brave Baby song, and you can bet your ass I was belting out the lyrics, just like everyone around me.
Perhaps the most epic moment from Tuesday’s show was when Brave Baby played “Last Gold Rush”. As soon as the song started, Keon put down his guitar and turned his back to the audience, singing the opening verse in a Jim James-esque manner, complete with the electric voice and hand motions. At the point in the song when the beat really drops, Keon leaped off the stage into the crowd and floated around on the people’s hands for a solid minute before returning to the stage to finish it off.
Brave Baby ended their set with a super high energy performance of “Lakeside Trust”, and I think it was the perfect choice of song to cap off the evening. It got everyone jumping around, both on stage and in the crowd, and though we were all worn out from moving to a long set, we were willing to do it one last time for the sake of finishing strong.
There was also some talk circulating throughout The Commodore about Brave Baby working on some new music. While I haven’t heard confirmation of this, I’d say be on the lookout for something new from them in the near future.