As a part of the Event Planning and Organizing Committee (EPOC)’s Spring Carnival, and through a special collaboration with Band Booking Committee (BBC), a few bands played at The Draw on Thursday, May 11. The Draw is a small off-campus venue that often houses the art and music of Lawrence students and faculty. Three small Midwest bands were featured; the Wishbone Breakers, Isaac Levine of the Platonic Boyfriends and Ratboys. Each band provided a different and refreshing style, making for an entertaining night of music.
The first band, the Wishbone Breakers, had an alt-country feel. Their guitar had a very bluesy and clean sound. The style of the vocals and melodies reminded me a lot of Steve Earle or even an early Bruce Springsteen, and the setlist contained a lot of genuine, honest songwriting. The band was full of energy while performing, which kicked off the night on a high note.
From Ann Arbor, Michigan, Isaac Levine of the Platonic Boyfriends put on an oddly likable show. This band probably had the highest crowd attendance and was also my favorite of the three bands. They had a very minimalist sound; most of their songs featured a small toy keyboard or electronic percussion. A lot of the sounds were almost childlike in a mildly creepy way, yet the oddities were perplexing and charming. The lyrics were simple yet extremely clever, with phrases like, “learning how to feel free, instead of being free.”
While the lead vocalist hunched over his small toy keyboard for a good portion of the show, he also put on the occasional theatrical performance. He would place his hands on his hips in an exaggerated pose, seeming to be doing impressions as he switched between voices. Many of the songs seemed to be written from a place of heartbreak and fear. There were also a few more lighthearted songs, including a song about Italian ice that featured a melodica. The band was full of character and put on an entertaining set that switched often between humorous and meloncholy.
As the night continued a few people left before the most popular of the three bands, Ratboys, went onstage. Ratboys is a folk-indie band from Chicago, Illinois. Though I did not get to stay for their whole set, the vocalist had a stunningly unique voice and many of the songs were dominated by guitar. I should note that one of their songs, “Elvis is in the Freezer,” has a new music video. Their latest album will be out June 30 and I am expecting a lot from it after their distinctive performance at The Draw.
Each of the three bands brought a unique performance to The Draw. They all have music on Bandcamp that is worth checking out. In my opinion, this Spring Carnival event was a nice precursor to LUaroo, which will be taking place on May 27 and May 28 and will feature performances by many other interesting and noteworthy artists.