There’s a new age rock genre in the making, and it’s not often that it works out for the best. They produce classically great jams with understated melodies and a flare all their own. You could call it hipster art rock, but I’d rather just list the folks that do it great: Arcade Fire, Bon Iver, Vampire Weekend, Death Cab for Cutie, etc. You don’t expect this greatness at your local art fair. But then again, The Festival of the Arts isn’t just any old art fair, it’s in Grand Rapids, Michigan – Beer City USA! The Pistolbrides brought an awesomely entertaining jam to a stage that needed a group without gimmicks. Yeah, I love seeing purple zoot suits and old man bluegrass acts, but I came for the diamonds in the ruff—even if I thought none would appear. They rocked in a subtle way, the kind of way that says: “hey, this is good music, and we like it as genuinely as you do.” Effortless is always best.
A foursome with all the right pieces, the Pistolbrides come to the table with a tried and true equation: one singer/guitarist, a bassist, a drummer, and a dude to tickle the ivories. It means that no-one’s riding on anyone’s coat-tails. You’ll pick this up quick watching a blues trio—we can hear everything everyone does because nobody’s doubling any parts. This is the same kind of thing, except that the keyboard allows for a ton of versatility. Plus, trying to duplicate Cream in the 2010s is a nearly unreachable—if albeit noble—task.
With an album of fresh music just released and a solid list of regional shows on the docket, the Pistolbrides impressed us with more than their terrifically fun music. Check out this group now, while you can still claim to know them as an “up and comer!”
Photography by Mallory Patterson
Written by Frank Cass