Ben Caplan Album Release Party
Once again, I strolled into a venue to find the first set just finishing. My sincerest apologies to Gabrielle Papillon, the opening act for the Ben Caplan & The Casual Smokers‘ album release party at Supermarket, but I did get there in time to enjoy her closing song “Outlaws and Criminals”, a sultry tune, which ensured a pleasant evening ahead.
The next set to hit the stage was a one-man band by the moniker of Revelstoke. By this time, the crowd was still sparse, but it was only 10:00pm. In between his sips of wine, Revelstoke wowed the crowd with his overuse of the repeater and extreme reverb setting. A wave of self-indulgence, pretentiousness, and an intense amount of confidence poured off the stage…but damn it…he was good. I couldn’t help but be lured into his haunting melodies and playful guitar licks. His set left me with mixed emotions, but the crowd loved him and cried out for more.
Everyone was feeling good, loosened up, and the night was still young. Darren Eedens was up next and he was equipped with the same weapons as Revelstoke: an acoustic guitar, a mandolin, and a banjo. Only Eedens’ style was completely different, he was tearing it up with rapid strumming and mean licks, his sound was so rude, it was a breath of fresh air after the endless echoes of the previous act. He sang bluesy tunes of heartbreak, destructiveness, dating liars and whores, and being broke, all with a voice reminiscent of Kristian Matsson of Tallest Man on Earth, and a hint of Dylan. The perfect prelude to Ben Caplan.
Midnight struck and Ben Caplan was setting up. I made a quick glance around the room and realized that there should probably be more people present. Every act up to this moment had been staggeringly awesome, and it is certainly disappointing that the experience wasn’t vastly enjoyed by a larger audience. Your loss though, if you weren’t there, because Ben Caplan, along with being one of the most entertaining stage banterers I’ve ever seen, was top notch, and his band was tighter than expected, considering they practiced together for the first time just hours before the show. Caplan’s immense vocals were accentuated by an intricately handled fiddle, played by an extremely talented Sarah Morano of Brett Caswell & the Marquee Rose. The bass player (who’s bass was too loud), Stephen Neville, and the drummer, Liam Jaeger – our boys from The Balconies – also accompanied Caplan, filling out his sound, augmenting it to arena style volumes. Caplan claimed that his beard is the only reason people go to see him play (it’s pretty amazing), but it’s probably only a secondary reason, because his dramatic wailing, sorrowful oohs and aahs, and powerful lyrics are definitely sufficient enough reasons to draw in a crowd. Caplan also claimed that he would be performing at The Horseshoe November 28th – The Horseshoe doesn’t have it listed, but if Ben Caplan & The Casual Smokers end up there at some point, I will too.