Review and photos by Ellen Eldridge
The Five Spot was nearly packed on Sunday night, and that’s not bad for a band’s second appearance in Atlanta. Pearl and the Beard opened for Ani DiFranco in February and the air of contagious joy captured the attention of many fans who bought the CDs and headed back out for the trio’s headlining gig. That genuine love and pride of finding a band to fall in love with filled the spaces between audience members. It felt like every soul singing out to match harmonies with Jocelyn Mackenzie, Emily Hope Price, and Jeremy Styles took pride in being at the show supporting the band. That’s simply not something seen so often anymore.
Guitarist and vocalist Styles admitted to the crowd that he was, “Extremely blown away that you’re all here –I don’t know how to process this; I’m like a bag of popcorn that’s been in the microwave too long,” and when drummer and vocalist Mackenzie asked the audience who came because they saw Pearl and the Beard open for Ani DiFranco a roar erupted. When Styles asked, “And who came for the free roast beef?” one lady in the front row stuck her hand straight up proudly. The warmth and camaraderie made the show something special.
The three voices of the band perfect harmonizing and that alone makes Pearl and the Beard stand out. Not only can their voices soar out and over the crowd but also their enthusiasm dips into the crowd to rouse during songs like “Sweetness” and “Reverend.” From the stage the boots tap in time to “Douglas Douglas” and on the floor of The Five Spot, Pearl and the Beard carved out a circle of fans around them as they closed the gap between performer and fan. Styles performed a song with chorus lyrics, “You’ll never know, dear, how much I love you – love is for fools” and then the ladies joined him in the inner circle surrounded by the awed crowd. Cellist and vocalist Price started a new song about secret love which she started to explain to the crowd and abandoned the idea quickly out of a sense of insecurity – or so she said.
Pearl and the Beard played “Hot Volcano” to close out the show with an encore. Anyone interested in learning the words to all the songs in preparation for the next show should visit: www.pearlandthebeard.com. As Mackenzie, Styles and Price thanked the audience they said if they ever play on a bigger stage it will be due to the appreciation of fans like those in Atlanta on Sunday.
Pearl and the Beard: