Noble Bodies w/ Volcano Boys Concert Review

Written by Rae Nervig and Brenna O’Donoghue

Post-concert Review (Rae)

Volcano Boys performing. Photo by Rae Nervig

Noble Bodies performed at The Maintenance Shop on Saturday, April 12th. Volcano Boys, from Des Moines, supported the show. Although it was a smaller crowd on Saturday evening, Volcano Boys filled the M-Shop with their hard rock/punk tunes. To start their set, they played “Friends”, a song written in Ames, Iowa. One of the best things about seeing a local band perform live, is to hear about how and where inspiration to their music takes place… and when it’s so close to home for an audience member, it makes the listening experience much more special. Volcano Boys played a number of new songs, one of them being “Fever”. With the lyrics, “My baby’s got a fever”, and “You don’t love me now”, it’s not difficult to realize that heartbreak and love has shaped the band’s new material. Raegan’s favorite song performed by Volcano Boys is another new one, called “Stand”. This tune has a more somber tone to it compared to anything else played that night. There’s also a killer guitar solo towards the end that changes the pace of the song in the best way possible. Volcano Boys started the night on a great note, and their tunes complemented Noble Bodies music very well to prepare the audience for the headlining act.

Noble Bodies performing. Pictured left to right: Bryce Taylor, Elaine Bradley, Chris Bennett. Photo by Rae Nervig.

From the second they got on stage to the moment they left the venue, Noble Bodies’ love for music, each other, and the audience radiated throughout the M-Shop. The trio is made up of Bryce Taylor (guitar, vocals, drums), Elaine Bradley (drums, vocals, guitar), and Chris Bennett (bass). My favorite part as an audience member at the show was how interactive and inclusive the band members were with the crowd. During the beginning of the show, Noble Bodies started out with a couple of groovy songs, “Back it Up” and “Take Me Down”. The audience was intrigued and heads were bopping in sync. At one point during “Take Me Down”, bassist Chris Bennett (the unsung hero) jumped on the floor to dance a bit with an audience member, who undoubtedly will remember that particular groove session for years to come. Elaine Bradley can do it all, and did it all while wearing an amazing shirt with cats on it. Elaine has some serious talent when it comes to playing the drums and singing. She stunned me when her and Bryce Taylor switched instruments midway through their set, which goes to show how versatile and wide their musical abilities are. The band played their entire new EP, It’s OK It’s Hell for everyone at the M-Shop Saturday night. Most of the songs on it have a similar tone to them, and if you enjoy screamo music, I definitely recommend checking out “Take Me Down” and “Release”. Rae’s favorite song performed Saturday evening was “No!”. This is another one of the many songs that encourages audience participation, which is why I enjoyed it so much.

A technical review from a classically trained music boi (Brenna)

Close up of Chris Bennet. Bryce and Elaine switched instruments during the performance. Photo by Rae Nervig.

This concert featuring Noble Bodies was anything but plain, and combined a unique musicianship with lyrics that were deep rooted in philosophical thought. Most bands do not have members like Bryce Taylor who pulled from his work on his doctoral studies in philosophy and what being a human on this planet means. Right behind him was Elaine Bradley who brought incredible percussive technique and musical finesse, and Chris Bennett who is a better bassist and dog dad than any of us (you should see his family’s Christmas card).

One of their favorite things to do within a piece was to modulate the tempo, so you’d be “boppin” your head one second and the next, you would be swaying side to side. Combine this with thoughtful dynamics and this band definitely took all listening for a journey across their 90 min set. The vocals were thoughtfully shared between Bryce and Elaine throughout the night (Chris was deemed “too kind of person” to have a microphone), and their songs featured them harmonizing in unison or utilizing a call and response pattern. Techniques like these that moved non-linearly, influenced their songs and helped build the intensity of their music. Intensity fell as quickly as it was built, and the band would move into a slower groove, with mesmerizing guitar interludes incorporating the dreamy trance of ascending major thirds.

Even though the band had noted earlier that having both Bryce and Elaine play guitar (back in 2004 when they were “Another Statistic”) ended poorly, it was nice to see them take turns during their set and switch effortlessly between the two instruments. Switching between instruments and shooting out inside jokes and witty comments between songs helped with the involvement by the audience. At times, you could see the audience members mimicking the body movements of the band members even if the movement was a full body toss (thankfully no one was injured). Concerts where the audience loses themselves in the music with the band members shows a musical success from the musicians and a high level of enjoyment. So when their new album comes out mid 2019, it’ll be a perfect collection of catchy Rock themes that’ll be a staple in your music listening for the summer.

Check out both of the band’ latest releases below!

As a special treat, here’s a couple songs from Live from KURE with Volcano Boys from 2011.

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