Ford and the Fam…at Manny’s!

December 18, 2012 @ 12:49 am by James Reuss
Yes, this was how it looked the whole time. This was all that was necessary.

Yes, this was how it looked the whole time. This was all that was necessary.

Recently, I got the chance to cover a Kopecky Family Band concert out at Manny’s Sports Bar. I would be lying if I said I had been familiar with the band at the time; I knew they did folk-style rock, so I figured that seeing the band was probably the right thing to do, if only in the name of expanding my horizons. Since I’m not any sort of expert where folk music is concerned, I figured it might be best to have folk enthusiast and generally delightful person Randi Paul accompany me to the show.

I picked up my trusted associate Randi and headed to the West End. I realized I didn’t know exactly when the show started, but by squinting at a picture of the concert poster I found on Manny’s Facebook page, I was able to see a number that might have been an eight or a nine. We arrived around ten after eight; there was a band on stage, running sound checks and testing equipment. I feared I was late, but Manny’s was mostly empty. There was the band, the sound guy, and a handful of people. It turned out the concert started at nine.

We watched the mic and instrument checks, securing a beer and one of Manny’s vaunted alcohol slushies. The sound check song was done by five young women, each on a different instrument. The group even performed one song to test the levels, and thus was I introduced to the music of Maxie Ford.

Randi, a reliable source of folk-music-related information, said the band sounds similar to groups Tin Sparrow and The Lighthouse and the Whaler. Since this is a folk band, there was a fiddle, stand-up bass, and acoustic guitar, but there were also keyboards, and in lieu of a drum, there was tap-dancing! It was an interesting lineup, and a sound not quite like anything else I’ve heard before. The band is local, apparently, and is quite talented. Also, they’re all absolutely adorable. I’m not a huge fan of traditional/folk music, but if I get the chance to see them again, I’ll take it. If you don’t believe me, ask the bald, middle-aged man who spent the whole night dancing to the music and partially blocking my view of the stage…this band has something for everybody. There was even a cover of Kanye West’s “Gold Digger,” done with about 400% more indie folk style than Kanye could have hoped to capture. The group played until around a quarter to ten.

Kopecky Family Band took the stage at ten, much to the enjoyment of both Maxie Ford and the bald man who’d been dancing all night. As I said, this was the first I’d ever listened to, nay heard of, this band. They’re apparently from Nashville, TN. They play mellow Sixties-revival indie rock, cut with some traditional folk. The band was on tour supporting their first full-length album—according to them, there have been singles and there have been EPs, but there have been no full-length albums from Kopecky Family Band until now.

Band member count: 6. Instrument count: 14+.

Band member count: 6. Instrument count: 14+.

Perhaps the most fun aspect of a Kopecky Family Band show is that instruments far outnumber band members. The band constantly switches instruments between songs, and even in the middle of songs–each member is clearly multi-talented. Tambourines, a xylophone, a cello, and even some trombones made an appearance alongside the de facto indie-rock guitar/drum/bass/keyboard setup. The sound is richer and more multi-layered as a result. At one point during the finale, the band tossed a couple of tambourines and a maraca out to the nearest audience members, and told everybody else to clap along with the music. You can’t beat audience participation in a concert.

The show wrapped around eleven, and Randi and I shuffled out into the cold. The consensus was that the night was a success: she’d gotten to listen to music she enjoys, and I gained a greater appreciation for a genre with which I’m not intimately familiar. We headed for the nearby Taco Bell drive-through…there’s really no better way to follow a concert than eating cheap faux-Mexican food?

Check out both bands on Facebook for tour schedules, check places like iTunes for music, and don’t be shy about buying things with a band logo on it!

Kopecky Family Band on Facebook

Maxie Ford on Facebook

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