Portland sister Trio Joseph is well known to listeners of The Current with their distinctive voices and harmonies demanding your ears’ attention whenever one of their songs is played. They turned out to be my favorite set of The Current’s birthday party shows in January. Armed with a new EP “Stay Awake” and backed by a band they returned to First Avenue last Saturday.
Opening was another sibling trio Brooklyn’s Bailen. I don’t know why siblings are able to create harmonies in such a distinct fashion? Is it genetics? Is it practice asking “are we there yet” in unison in their family vehicle of choice? Or is there a deeper connection? Either way they sounded great and the first part of their set was slow and soulful. Music that made you want to go find a place lay down in the grass on that hot, muggy fall evening, look at the night sky and just drift off. The last time Bailen was in town they played at the MN Zoo, and the band stated First Ave was a definite step up from playing next to the Zebras. The last couple of songs in their set were upbeat and dare I say, almost rocking.
Set List: Cold Blue / Something Tells Me / Eyelashes / Careless ? / The Way I Told / Stray Dog / Not Gonna Talke Me / I wo???
Joseph, made up of sisters Natalie, Allison and Meegan started their show in dramatic fashion on a dark stage with just a few backlights. Judging by the cheers building up, fans were more than ready for their set. Their 2016 album “I’m Alone, No You’re Not” proved to be their breakout opportunity and their brand new EP sounds like a great follow up.
It was fun to see them with a full band and compare that to just the 3 sisters performance from January. Not being tied to a drum pedal freed Natalie up to move around that stage and giving her a more active stage presence.
Joseph’s cover of Tears for Fears “Everybody Wants To Rule The World” came as a good surprise to me (guess I had missed that on the snippets of the EP I had listened to) and their new songs. Their performance was precise, as needed to pull off those complex harmonies, but felt very organic rather than scripted. There are bands that sound live exactly the way they do on an album, but with Joseph you can clearly tell the difference. My favorite moment was when they directed the crowd to add an additional layer to the chorus for “Planets”
The setlist was a good mix from their catalogue, without SOS (resting Meegan’s voice) and a highlight was a performance of “Moonlight Mile” with Bailen joining them on stage for an impressive performance.
Set List: All / Lifted Away / Wind / Planets / I Don’t Mind / Everybody Wants To Rule / Not Mine / Stay Awake / Hundred Ways / 50, 60, 80 / Whirlwind / Blood And Tears / White Flag / Moonlight Mile Encore: The Trouble With US / Sweet Dreams