Like a mirage of water on asphalt so appeared Fawn Bones, Daycones and Casey Golden, whose music collectively lifted the listlessness after yet another oppressive day of desert heat, last night (Thursday) on the patio at Bar Passé.
Fawn Bones was first up under the twinkling string lights on the rustic outdoor stage. The solo singer-songwriter/guitarist melded traditional blues and folk with experimental sounds, and performed a mix of original tunes sung in feathery voice, instrumental pieces, and a cover by cult singer-songwriter Daniel Johnston. Notes: The young woman first discovered a spiritual connection through music at 15 years of age when learning to play guitar. “It feels like I am channeling something ... standing somewhere else outside of my body when I am playing.” And that's pretty much what it was like watching her.
Armed solely with an acoustic guitar, Milwaukee native Ryan Cones, performing solo under the moniker Daycones, strode up next. Finding it hard to describe his sound, when asked, “Is it folk?” the somewhat cool and distant Cones replied “Sometimes ... it’s more of a recording project,” before trailing off. Daycones' sparse psych-tinged garage rock, on songs like “Imagination”—off his 2016 album New Landscapes—
had a powerful, disquieting effect. Last night's stripped-down set of tunes felt more optimistic. A moment of levity came when someone from the audience blurted out, “Wait, dude, I want to play drums with you, man...” Cones amicably invited the dude to join him on stage. “Jeff Lownsbury, everybody,” of the Jeff Lownsbury Sextet. Not quite finding the right groove, Lownsbury made an aborted attempt to accompany the talented young singer-songwriter. Those in attendance audience, perched on wooden chairs, seemed thrilled nonetheless.
Casey Golden—backed by the hardest working musicians in town, guitarist Connor Gallaher, bassist Grant Beyschau, and trapsman Adan Martinez-Kee—played last.
Golden describes his music as postmodern revival, indie-folk. But there's more there than that. It’s his uncanny voice, one that's both whimsical and otherworldly, like a strange child with a faraway smile and fey manner. In “Minor Leagues,” off of his self-titled album Casey Golden
(Muscle Beach, 2017), his inflection and vocal timbre captured melancholia perfectly.
Because of the band, the night closed down dramatically in the otherwise low-key backyard smoking area at Bar Passé. Lush three-part harmonies soared atop Gallaher maniacal Telecaster riffing, and Beyschau and Martinez-Kee held down the backbeat with aplomb. In other words, smoking.