There is an old saying amongst LSD enthusiasts that goes something like “life is all set and setting.” In other words, one’s mindset and environment are the two determining factors in a person’s relative reaction to a given experience. While I can’t speak to Timothy Leary’s theories on maximizing a psychedelic high, I would argue that set and setting are integral to the way that we experience live music.
Nashville’s Night Beds opened up for The Head and the Heart at Broad Ripple’s Opti Park in Indianapolis earlier this summer. Having arrived shortly after the gates opened, I was relegated to the rear of the crowd. A small army of young parents and stumbling toddlers stood littered between my vantage point and the stage. As is often the case with opening acts, the sound was too low. This problem was compounded by the outdoor setting and the delicate, diminutive nature of Night Beds’ performance. However, I could tell by the reaction of those near the stage that those of us in the back were missing the point.
Night Beds, and more directly lead singer Winston Yellen, construct the type of songs that are best heard indoors. This becomes readily apparent in the live clip of the band’s new single “Even If We Try,” released today as a 7″ on Dead Oceans. Filmed in an empty church, Yellen’s vocals bounce and multiply, growing with each echo. Only after watching the video below, do the belly roars from the first few rows at Opti Park appear justified. Night Beds has a 12-date tour spread across the Midwest and East Coast that kicks off on September 24 in Louisville.
Written by Rob Peoni