I can’t even remember the last time that I saw The Spades play, I’m pretty sure it has been over a year. Starting off the night was a band who is currently with The Spades Label Pirate Radio Records The Express and Co.
The Express and Company marked the first time that I have ever seen a fiddle being played at the Merchant and I am pretty sure the first time that I have heard bluegrass being played there as well.
Starting off their set they played a Neil Young cover, which quickly brought them the attention of many eyes and ears who were at the Merchant. This also wasn’t the end of cover songs in there set they also managed to squeeze out a Sadies cover as well. While they were playing the Sadies cover you could see a few people singing along to the song which also got mentioned at the end of the songs from vocalist and fiddle player Melissa. To finish of their set they also went with a cover song as well with Bob Dylan’s “I Shall Be Released”. Their first two songs of their set were acoustic guitar driven songs which was played by lead vocalist and guitarist Dylan. The first two songs didn’t mean it was the end of the acoustic guitar as the acoustic made another appearance nearing the end of their set with what I am pretty sure was the first bluegrass driven song that I have ever heard in the Merchant Tap house as well. The Express and Company were playing songs off of their self titled EP. It wasn’t until around mid set that Melissa asked the audience to come up and dance but quickly grew one heckler out in the audience which at the blink of an eye put him in his place and even got herself the shot that she asked for as well. The harmonies between Dylan and Melissa naturally sounded as they belong together. They both contain that right amount of raspiness in their vocals that give them a vocally edge in their songs, especially their own songs. The bassist Liam throughout the set pretty much stayed in one place and held his back to the crowd for most of the stage but that may due to the size of the stage, Melissa playfully tried to hit him in the head a couple of times with his bow before he took notice. Nearing the end of their set they played their lead single off of the album which have gotten them a little airplay called “The List”. Their set had a mix of tempo’s with only a couple of slower numbers playing out in the middle mark of their set. Their set had a mix of tempo’s with only a couple of slower numbers playing out in the middle mark of their set. To really sum up their sound quite easily if you like Mumford and Sons, then you will probably like The Express and Company as well.
Even before The Spades started to play a not it seemed out of nowhere people appeared and engulfed the front of the stage and back to the hallway leading to the entrance door. The guys played songs from all of their albums including James’s first solo album. I was surprised by how many people were singing along to almost every song that they played. Starting off their set they played “In The Movies”. It took them until the fifth song to play a song off their new ep (Let It Burn) with the song “Hydroplaning.” now if anybody ever said they can’t hear a Neil Young influence in their songs this song is a great example to prove them wrong. The guys didn’t shy away from stretching out their songs at all, especially with James putting on a guitar clinic for everyone. Their stage setup was missing a few instruments from the last time that I saw them play, Josh didn’t bring his foot pedals that he just got before the show and the Theremin. It was great hearing some of the songs which they haven’t played in a few years, it brought me back to the days when they were first touring and playing in Kingston at The Elixir. The guys laid their signature “Yeah” yells on pretty good tonight as well which was great to hear again, I thought that was going to be a lost aspect of their show as well but it was good to hear them yelling the phrase out again. One song which they played that has been definitely skipped over the past couple of shows was “Marijuana” it’s a simple song yet I looked forward to hearing it every time that they played but it did get skipped over every now and again. James ran into a bit of a problem nearing the end of their set when his amp decided to give out but quickly he plugged into Dylan’s amp, as Josh and Tommy kept the music going. A wicked extra song that they threw in tonight was a Jimi Hendrix cover. To me one of the best addition to one of their songs was when James quickly threw on a slide to help with “Burning On Fumes” in what I thought was going to be the ending of the song but the song stretched out a quite a bit more after he threw the slide off. To finish off the night Dylan and Melissa came up on stage and played “49 Tons”, this after the crowd yelling out for “Three more Songs”. There was a little problem at the start of the song with a popping sound coming from the fiddle. This song has seemed to become one of their staple songs in every show that they play. The song had a mix of everything, with Dylan on Guitar Melissa on Fiddle and James on Vocals, partial acoustic guitar, and falling back to the drums to help Tommy out but quickly broke both sticks that he was using and returned to the front of the stage to finish off the lyrics. Josh found himself all tied up with Melissa playing her fiddle around his neck. At the end of the night at the front of the stage laid two broken sticks and a crap load of broken glass