Sweet Rock ‘n’ Roll Mood Music with Singer-Songwriters Andrew Belle and Sugar & the Hi Lows (9-17-2014)

If you love the charm of small artists, up-and-coming musicians and the culture of singer-songwriters, you may find yourself walking through the doors of a little music venue called the Brick & Mortar Music Hall in the Mission District of San Francisco.

Hailing on the culture of lesser-known artists and mildly successful singer-songwriters, the blue-eyed folk/electronic singer-songwriter Andrew Belle returned to this venue last month with fellow friends Amy Stroup and Trent Dabbs of Sugar + the Hi Lows on a cool September night. Although both very different in sound and style, they proved to have quite the credible background to make them two artists that belong in your music library.

I have to admit that while I was looking for local concert listings in the area (because I missed my concert fix for the late summer), these two artists caught my eye after several Google searches. It turns out that Andrew Belle once did a little indie-pop tune with the soft-spoken wistfully refreshing singer-songwriter Katie Herzig in a song called “Static Waves.” I don’t know about you, but this song brings me right back to 2010’s rising culture of indie-pop singer-songwriter loveliness. (And, this was the sole song by any of the two artists in my iTunes at the time.)

Andrew Belle performed a slate of his “hushed” songs, accompanied by only his keyboard, an electronic drum set and a looper. Simply sitting up there playing his mellow tunes away, he almost put me into a sleep spell with his charmingly ambient tunes.

Though, the real winner for me at this concert was opening act Sugar + the Hi Lows. Rising from Nashville, Tennessee, these two rockabilly souls brought back a culture reminiscent of the foot-stomping tunes of the early 60s with the sweet, rocking and rolling of blues. A real vintage duo, their highlight of the night for me was covering the June Carter and Johnny Cash classic “Jackson,” which pretty much captures the spirit of what their music feels like–danceable, rhythmic and swoonfully country.

Sugar + the Hi Lows are definitely doing something different, but entirely special in this time and age. Paying homage to vintage classics in a time of overly trite electronics, their music tastes like sugar, sounds like rock & roll, and is handsomely mellow all at the same time.

Sometimes, it feels nice to go into a concert with blind eyes and ears with the intention to simply enjoy musicians doing what they do, while finding their charm. You may find yourself pleasantly pleased (or maybe even lullabied away).


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