What does home feel like to you? How do you find a safe space in the midst of your life, a place to always fall back on? It could be a place, a person, or maybe even a warm safe feeling inside of you. “Bluebeard,” the latest album from the indie-folk southern band The Brook & The Bluff, was created in a single home out in the mountains of Georgia. This central place was key for every band member, so much so that they wanted to recreate the feeling of home for everyone.
And when I arrived at The Fonda, I returned home. The audience looked like they were picked right out of a midwestern high school mixed with the fashions of LA. A mixture of crop tops with flannel and pin straight hair to full-on mullets, it felt like a visual of my experiences in the Midwest and LA coming together for a night to remember. At first, It felt weird to have a piece of home, with the country touch and feeling of camaraderie as people conversed with each other, in the middle of LA, particularly Hollywood, a place known for palm trees and dreams. The Brook & The Bluff, with origins in Alabama, haven’t even played yet and have already created a piece of home for me here, a feeling that they emphasized [in our recent interview with them] they wanted to have in every venue they play.
Starting their first act of the night, the band appeared with a monologue playing and white lights flashing everywhere. A big scene, it felt almost dramatic as their silhouettes filled the stage. The curtains arose and the audience screamed as the first notes to their single “Long Limbs” floated in the air. Pools of light spill onto the five members – ready for action. We get to hear more singles off of their new album “Bluebeard” as they dance on stage and look at one another, excited for the night. As I snap pictures of the members, it’s clear that they are immersed in the music that leads them through the event. Frontman Joseph Settine addresses the audience as they close up their first act, speaking on their song “My Foggy Lens,” as being one of the first songs to be created on the record back in Nashville. From this point on, it’s clear that time is an important theme to “Bluebeard” and to their set, weaving in the past and present to create a seamless experience.
Pockets of light flash again as we move onto the second act of the night, Louise. Louise, named after their microphone, is a stripped-down section where they swap electric for acoustic instruments, opting for a more intimate moment. They hit it off with another past piece, “Bulletins From The Past,” a song hinting at being in the friend-zone and not knowing what relationship you have with someone. A song fitted for this act, we sway along as singer Joseph Settine opens up to the audience. Louise ends perfectly with a cover of Neil Young’s “Harvest Moon” and – far too soon – we are headed towards the final act of the night.
In the final act, the band swoons the audience with past hits such as “Halfway Up,” a song about trying to be the perfect person for a relationship. Even though the song lays out a relationship with no warmth to it, the audience screams the chorus, radiating love back to the band. This is a moment The Brook & The Bluff seems to always from their audience: having a crowd enjoying and connecting with your music so much and being able to sing lyrics alongside you. The night closes off with an encore with songs from the past, “Rush” and “Doobie Bronson.”
While the instruments and band members took the stage, dancing with one another and reaching out for the audience, it was the atmosphere that had the biggest impact. A makeshift Midwest in the West Coast, it felt nice to grab the feeling of home even if it was for a night. It’s a reminder as I come back to school that home doesn’t have to be physical and something that can be created through relationships and experiences. And I don’t believe it to be an experience unique to me — even though it’s not explicit, it was clear to see the impact The Brook & The Bluff’s show had on all of us.