When I heard The Album Leaf were coming to Dallas in support of their new disc, Between Waves, I jumped at the chance to see them. My hope was to get at least a write up of the live show but I also landed an interview. This meant that I missed the opening act, Rituals of Mine, so I will not be able to comment on their set. What I did catch of Rituals of Mine’s set was impressive to say the least. Terra Lopez is the real deal. Her vocals are impressive and she’s a powerhouse. Their first album on Warner Brothers will be out on September 30th. That said, after spending about 30 minutes with LaValle and company, I went out to await their arrival on stage.
The show began with the opener to Between Waves, “False Dawn”. It was the beginning of a 15 song set that was impressive throughout. Alongside Jimmy LaValle’s (synths, keys, electronics, and guitar) charismatic presence, his bandmates David Lebleu (primarily drums), Matt Resovich (primarily violin), and Brad Lee (primarily bass and synths) demonstrated that they were all consummate, multi-instrumentalists. Everyone played keys/synths at some point during the course of the concert and various other instruments depending on the track. These four members have been playing as a unit for about six years and it shows. I cannot put into exact words how impressive Lebleu’s work on the drums is and how deft he is at harnessing his instrument. Alongside the electronic rhythms produced with pads and synths, Lebleu lends a human touch that makes the entire musical experience feel organic and fresh. Resovich lends incredible tones and sounds to the mix with his violin and keyboard work. Sometimes subtle, sometimes building a wall of sound, Resovich mesmerizes. Lee provided glue to the set, laying down impressive bass lines. As a fan of the band, I have always found the bass lines on the discs to be perfection, especially on Between Waves. Hearing them played live, however, showed Lee’s ability to hang in the pocket and give various accents I found delightful. Further, when Lee wasn’t providing bass lines, he was filling out the sound with his work on the trumpet. And what can be said about LaValle that probably hasn’t already been said about him from other sources. The Album Leaf is his baby and the songs are structured by him. His guitar work, synth/piano playing and his vocals all showed a master in his element.
The set list was as follows.
False Dawn (Between Waves)
Glimmering Lights (Between Waves)
New Soul (Between Waves)
Window (In a Safe Place)
Falling from the Sun (The Chorus of Storytellers)
Back to the Start (Between Waves)
Forever Drive (Between Waves Deluxe Edition)
Twentytwoforteen (In a Safe Place)
Lost in the Fog (Between Waves)
Between Waves (Between Waves)
The Light (Into the Blue Again)
Brennivin (Seal Beach)
The Outer Banks (In a Safe Place)
The Album Leaf are masters at taking their audience on a grand musical journey. The set they constructed moved from explosive, emotive pieces to quiet, spacious moments, giving the room time to breathe. Further, all the songs had pre-constructed visualizations and lighting created by Michael Raines, who designed the gorgeous artwork for the Between Waves cover. The visuals coupled with the band’s expertly executed musicianship created a feast for the senses.
September 9th, 2016 was just the third stop on a much longer tour. Check out the rest of the tour dates at their site and go see them!
The Album Leaf Tour Dates
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The Album Leaf Store