According to last month's self-titled debut, local quintet Legendary Oaks plays a poetic brand of alt-country/indie folk that's incredibly pleasant and expertly constructed but seemingly innocuous. That, however, is far from the case. The translation from studio recording to live set offers potential for a dramatic crescendo, and this show rocked far harder than the album would lead you to believe. Think of it as the best of both worlds.
It was a balance of energies that kept the most timid onlooker swaying and got the more adventurous ones to dance. At times the Americana influence shone brightly through, though at others the band sounded almost Hold Steady-esque--a similarity explainable by frontman Craig Schoen's Brooklyn roots and evidenced by his strong vocals and metered, energetic melodies. Sure, a chunk of the crowd had a good drunk going seemed to be friends of the band, but nearly the entire crowd opted for the area near the stage rather than the one near the bar. And they were rewarded, between sips of whiskey and a round of tequila shots for the performers, with a spirited performance.
For the impatient, Legendary Oaks is wasting no time before looking forward; even though the show unofficially doubled as a release party for their debut record, the band managed to play some unreleased material as well. And they've got another show booked--your next opportunity to catch Legendary Oaks is March 26 when they open for Brambles at Columbia City Theatre.