Opening this show was A Pale Blue. The six-member country-rock act started their set off quickly—perhaps too quickly, because they had several minor soundboard issues and slightly out of tune harmonics for their first two songs. Once their third song began however, the planets all aligned and they, frankly, kicked ass for such a new band. While a little rough around the edges, they showed good technique and genuine talent, occasionally transporting me briefly back to the country and bluegrass concerts held in my Texas hometown. I am looking forward to seeing this band grow and develop into something potentially great—not bad for the first of two opening acts. The next set, performed by Sun Wizard, was much more polished. They had a great flow and pace, getting the crowd ready for Immaculate Machine. All told, a talented, well put-together opening act.
When Immaculate Machine came on, people crowded around the intimately-sized Biltmore stage. The first couple of songs were from their new album, High on Jackson Hill, recorded entirely in one night. Fortunately for older fans like myself, they played a lot of old songs too. The performance of “So Cynical” was so passionate and so powerful that it turned out a lot better than the album version (which isn’t to say that the original isn’t great). “You Destroyer,” one of their new songs, showcased Kathryn Calder on lead vocals well. “Jarhand” and “C’Mon Sea Legs” also stood out. All the Immaculate Machine concerts I have seen have been outstandingly well performed. Their stage presence and rapport with the audience is refreshing and light-hearted—frontman Brooke Gallup talked about their tour to China and told tales of his crappy apartment. The first time I saw them in concert, they were the first of two opening acts but were by far the best of all the performances that (as they were on this night). If you get a chance to see Immaculate Machine live, don’t miss out!