Great concert, or greatest concert?

Happy first day of Autumn! It's official today! Thank goodness. My BFF and I are having an autumnal fete tonight. We're going to watch Sleepy Hollow and, seeing as how we're across the country from each other, we'll be eating festive foods of our own respective choosing. My pumpkin spice-scented candles are all ready to go.

Last night I went with my little sister and two friends to see Merriment, The Honey Trees, and Sucre. I knew I had to go to this show not only because I am an actual fan of all three groups (a rarity; I almost always suffer through at least one opener I've never heard of) but because I didn't know if The Honey Trees would ever play my town again! I've been a listener of theirs for a really long time. It was even more once-in-a-lifetime because The Honey Trees were Sucre's band -- I was like, "Are you kidding! Two bands becoming one? The surely angelic harmonies that await me?? This is never going to happen again! I can't believe I'm going to experience this majesty!"

Since it was a Monday night show, it was a really small crowd. Christie from Merriment joked about how it didn't have to be awkward.

She was adorable. I've seen her open for Eisley at least twice, back before she had a full band. But I think this was the most comfortable I've ever seen her; she looked like she was having fun. She also nearly fell over at the beginning of a song once, told us she'd had about 6 shots of espresso, and said with a grin, "I'm such an idiot." It was nice to hear backup harmonies provided by her sister-in-law, Karsyn. Sometimes they sounded really good and sometimes a little off, but I think the sound for their set in general was a little off, because lots of adjustments were made.

Merriment played nearly the entirety of their record, Sway, and I know about half the songs reasonably well, so I was singing along to what I knew. The crowd was really subdued and small, though. Almost no one was standing up by the stage, most sitting in the little tables in the back by the bar, so my group was the first to get up there. Therefore we were "front row center," as it were. Ideal!

My friend J likes to grab set lists when the artists will give them, and Collin sheepishly agreed to give him this one they'd written down on a scrap of cardboard. Only later did I discover that 1) many of the song titles they'd written down had been subject to toilet humor ("Nothing To Lose" was written as "Nothing To Poop," and that is only one example), and 2) there was a drawing on the back of the set list of the band as cats. I'm suspecting this was the work of keyboardist Karsyn...

The Honey Trees followed, and I was not prepared. Oh my goodness. I was not prepared!!!

I was hoping and praying they'd play "Orchard," which is probably my favorite song by them, but I suspected it might be too old, and if they did go back to their Wake the Earth EP, it might be for another track.

After the second song, Becky Filip asked the small crowd if anyone had ever heard of them (a couple of "woo!"s from the crowd, including one from me) and if anyone had their old EP. No one spoke up, so she started to say something in lament, but I blurted, "I do!!" because, well, I do, but I wasn't certain if she was talking about Wake the Earth. And I've been a fan since before that EP even came out. She heard me and said, "You do??" and also something like, "Cool! Thank you!" before introducing the next song, "Orchard." You better believe my little sister grabbed me and said, "They're playing your song!" and that I hopped up and down while shoving my camera up. It was a special moment for me. I do feel like most of the people there were either indifferent altogether (it was a pretty small crowd, difficult to hype) or there for Sucre, so I felt rewarded for being a superfan, at least in comparison to everyone else there.

I share this video not because the quality of sound is good (it's not... we were right in front of the stage, which was basically built on top of several rows of speakers, as far as I could tell, so anytime the drums or bass were enthusiastic, it totally overwhelmed my camera's mic; I recorded several Sucre songs but most of them didn't turn out because Sucre used such forceful drums!) but because I feel, in a way, like the concert gods smiled on me and that The Honey Trees played this just for me. ♥

This band was so, so, so good. They were tight and sounded just as they did on their album, the harmonies were dead-on and beautiful, everything previously only ethereal suddenly exhilarating, the songs made lush by atmosphere -- I know I'll always listen to their albums differently from having seen them live, which is definitely a thing that happens to me with artists I see live. A live rendition of a song can completely turn me around on the studio recording. They impressed me so much. I was definitely expecting to enjoy them, but I was just like, "Wow. They are the real deal. This is so solid."

After their set, J asked Jacob Wick for their set list, but he said that Sucre's set list was on it, too, so they still needed it. Which makes sense!! We decided to ask again after the show was complete.

Several minutes later, Stacy came on stage, quiet and almost shy. But her vocals were also incredible. Insane. The Honey Trees' Becky provided backing harmonies, and this was a complete stroke of genius. Becky blended beautifully and was pitch-perfect, allowing Stacy to vocally dance all over the place, with seemingly no effort. Sucre's songs seem really demanding to me since they're all over the place, but they clearly cater to Stacy's vocal strengths.

I've seen Eisley live several times and Stacy never disappoints. Here's last night's rendition of "Light Up." Gorgeous. It turned out okay, audio-wise, because it had the least amount of drums and therefore didn't kill my camera's mic.

Most of my pictures of Stacy have a sort of American Horror Story: Coven look about them, not only because Stacy was wearing an all-black ensemble that easily would have fit in with the expert styling of that show, but because I do believe there was powerful feminine magic in the air. Stacy for sure is the Supreme. She ended with "Line of Fire" which was freaking incredible. I had heard that after "Line of Fire" she would end with a couple of covers ("Silver Springs" and "You and Me," both of which I like very much) but she didn't do an encore for our crowd. It might have been too small, or she might have just been tired. We waited to see if she'd come back out, but she didn't. I was a little bummed, but just a little.

When J asked for a set list from the violin player, he said he didn't use one, but got us another one from the stage. Also, Jacob from The Honey Trees totally remembered my friend J and came off the stage with a set list to hand to him! They shook hands and I knew J was nervous, but really pleased. It was so kind of Jacob to remember him.

The set lists were all given to me in the end, which I feel is only fair because I do think I was the biggest fan in the house. With my Sucre poster, what wonderful souvenirs of a night I know I will never experience again. Even if I see Sucre or the Honey Trees again, I don't know that it will be together (this seems like a one-time thing), and seeing them play together was very special to me.

After the show and buying our merch, I found Becky and went up to talk to her. I'm so shy that I know I was probably really awkward and I actually don't remember verbatim what I said and she said, but I shook her hand and introduced myself and told her "I'm the one who has your EP..." which I think she remembered from my having spoken up from the crowd. I told her that I'd been a fan for a really long time, like since before their EP came out, when all I had was some MySpace demos and I played the crap out of "Don't Fear." I said something like, "You guys are a band that I never thought I would get to see live, and I know the crowd was really small but I was loving it, so thank you."  And she said, "Oh, that makes it all worth it."  I waved and darted away, and didn't get a picture with her (I didn't even think of it... I don't have a smart phone and I feel like asking people to wrangle my DSLR is too awkward), so I feel like I must've come on very weirdly, but I'm happy I talked to her, when normally, I'm too petrified to do that kind of thing. I'm happy I got to express that to her.

In the end, this experience for me was truly about the Honey Trees. I will almost definitely see Eisley live if they come around my area again (since they're from Texas, they do tend to hit Oklahoma or at least a surrounding state in every tour they do), and likely Merriment, if they continue to open for Eisley. I'm not sure if I'll ever be able to see the Honey Trees live again. I'm so thankful that I got to see them.


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