–Review and Photos by Matthew Hayes
There are few venues in St. Louis that I have never been to. The Duck Room in the basement of Blueberry Hill was one of those venues. Luckily I got the chance to on September 18th, doing photography for The Early November. Upon walking in to Blueberry Hill I was instantly drawn in to the wide variety of interesting memorabilia and collections that adorned the walls and glass cabinets. The Pez dispenser collection had a wide variety of characters, from the Simpsons to Star Wars. There was a cabinet with Chuck Berry artifacts that included one of his guitars.
Safety was a very obvious feature in the Duck Room. Before going down the stairs to the venue they had a security guard checking for weapons, which in today’s world is refreshing. The Duck Room, of course, is named for the late Chuck Berry’s signature onstage move, and there are ducks everywhere. Duck Tales, Daffy, and real ducks were all accounted for in this collection.
The first band was called OWEL, which I had been wrongly pronouncing to sound like OWL but is actually OAL, my bad. The band had a unique sound with great harmonies, and dramatic instrumentation. The lighting in the room left something to be desired, yet the sound was clean and not overpowering. Directly following Owel was the band Have Mercy. A hard hitting (can I say Indie?) band with dark emotional vocals and screaming guitars. Their set was energy packed, and kept the crowd energized.
The main act of the night was The Early November. Originally formed in 1999, The Early November was first signed to Drive-Thru records in 2002. I am no math expert, but that is 20 years ago. The band kicked things off with their track “A Stain On the Carpet” from their 2012 album In Currents. Sparing little time between songs, they were seamlessly flowing from one song to another without missing a beat.
The crowd yelled along to “Hit By A Car” a track off of their newest album Lilac, which is due out September 27th. The band exited the stage for an intimate acoustic version of “Ave Maria”. The swells and taps of a violin laced throughout added a whole new feel to this song. The band came back and performed songs from 2011, working their way backwards into their discography.
The final song of the evening was also off the album In Currents titled “Frayed in Doubt”. They pushed the adrenaline and energy to unreached levels for the finale. The fans were lucky enough to get autographs and photos taken with the band. All in all, I would say for a Wednesday night show, it was a very memorable one for the gathering of The Early November fans.