Being a two-piece drums and organ band, setting up in the lobby didn’t take very long. The operations staff quickly had all the wires run and the two brothers set up their instruments to face each other as they played. Although at first they didn’t realize they were on-air when the Big Red Light blinked off, they quickly shaped up their bantering and began the set.
Keyboardist Mat Lewis’ vocals were captivating. I spent most of the performance pondering the different qualities audible in his throated sounds. It wasn’t his range or technical skill which captivated me, though, it was his tone and soul that impressed me. His notes moved in subtle, but natural streams that ascended high briefly before dropping to the middle register at the end of phrases. I could describe his vocals as “lazy” sounding, because they sounded so relaxed, but that’s not a fair word to use. “Warm” and “vintagey” are much more appropriate. The was a certain raspiness and distortion that was introduced into his voice when singing high notes. It was atone akin to the soulful pop-singers Bono, John Lennon, and even Sting.
The two brothers connection while they played was a major highlight. They rarely made eye contact, but their sincerity in performing the songs they had written together was sheerly heart-warming in the best sense. Sonically, their music was filled with bouncing bass lines and jittery high synth bits. The drum beats seemed to be polka inspired on many songs, but changed rhythms frequently. Their third song featured this typical polka-beat, but it eventually evolved into a bluesy hi-hat groove. Melodically, the songs were inspired by what sounded like ethnic or perhaps Spanish scales which made for a very interesting listening experience. In typical Indie-Rock fashion, the band did fall back on some psychadelia tinges during their last song, but it was not overtly obvious and nor did it affect the performance in a negative way.
Grape Soda are a playfully soulful band that are sincere in their delivery and worth seeing live. Check out more on Grape Soda here: http://www.myspace.com/grapesodaforlife.