The Pinhook, Durham
January 15, 2010
The Pinhook is a deep room. From the edge of the venue's narrow door that portals you away from the concrete of the downtown loop, to tipping your hat gingerly past an amplifying floor to ceiling mirror alive with the green felt hue of a billiards table and the chatter of its gatherers, beyond the tall scenester lined oaken bar that mysteriously vanishes into an arcade themed hipster living room, to the factory sized collecting room housing the anticipations of over one hundred patrons standing at stage edge, and finally out the back door on the patio to blow smoke at the passing locomotives...is an entire night's journey. A blind man would not even need his stick to navigate it’s path, The Pinhook’s textures are alive with subliminal attractions that push you like the current in a brook...in and around, up and down and sometimes swirling. Friday night the current saw no strugglers as The Moaners, Lonnie Walker, and Liza Kate set up camp on the Pinhook's banks and strung up their guitars.
Liza Kate is a darling singer-song writer who drove down from Richmond to sit on the stage early in the night and crack jokes like a gleeful villain about to set a plan to motion. The gentle textures of a strummed six string drew an unsuspecting crowd of us to the stage where we giggled away at her wise cracks until she was satisfied that we were all off guard and wouldn't anticipate her perfect pitch and haunted voice being slipped into our chests like a satin dagger. Killing us softly with anguished storytelling over a harmony of acoustic guitar and smoldering vocals, my last words were "very nice Liza Kate, very nice."
Liza Kate gathered up the souls that lay at her feet and left the stage open for the whirl-wind dizzy Lonnie Walker. 2009 was a buzzed up year for these guys. They released These Times, Old Times on Chapel Hill Terpsikhore in May and soon earned media darling like attention from local and not so local pubs all of which culminated in the Indy naming These Times, Old Times as one of 2009's top album's of the Triangle. With the local subculture rushing to conclude who Lonnie Walker is, the expectations have often been stacked against them. Their loose around the edges and tight in the middle performance Friday night hinted that they are taller than the stack. Lonnie Walker is starting to believe that they are Lonnie Walker and their live shows are growing taller before our eyes, and theirs.
From unassuming faces in the crowd to radiant mesmerizing sirens in a single step across the threshold of the stage, I've never seen two people change so dramatically from street to spotlight as Melissa Swingle and Laura King do when taking stage as The Moaners. Wearing sun glasses and charisma, Melissa Swingle's matter-of-fact inflection and metered energy charms her starry eyed listeners to a personal level. Playing a down tuned guitar with a slide while feeding a wild animal Fender tube amp, Melissa timelessly glows in the lights of the stage like a memory of her own self being softer, younger, and meaner. If Melissa allows you to take your eyes off of her for a moment you'll fall for Laura King's shoe gaze vulnerability. Quick and mysterious when encountered turning knobs at Nightlight, Laura turns docile and comprehended when walking the kit on stage. For all of the intricacies that seek their stage persona, The Moaners flow with an effortless suave, symbolic of classic rock glory, and substantiated by neofolk importance. --Carrboro Ninja
We "saw" Melissa at The Pinhook last Friday night.
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