Kings Barcade, Raleigh
September 1, 2011
The sort of grandiose climb that would crest the epic, if not for the opposing weight of down-tuned vocals and gazey chord grinds...that is The Last Tallboy. As they stretch out a song, the questions are posed "is this remember-the-good-times grunge revivalist? Or is it entirely avant-garde score-cause-you-heard-it-first new wave?" By the time fuzzy memories of the '90's grunge core and fuzzy understandings of current rock boundaries begin to fire an answer from synapse to synapse it doesn't matter any more; the hooks have hooked and "where are these guys playing next" and "where are they from" are already queued.
I have no answer for the first...no idea where they are playing next. These guys are so underground you won't find them unless you've wired the receiving end of a Tesla machine to one of their amps. They are the fifth band on a four band bill. They played the house party that you heard about a day after it happened. But the second is easy, The Last Tallboy is a Raleigh townie band. A band's band, formed by the guys who are either at your show watching from the audience...or at your show serving from behind the bar. If you've been to more than a couple shows in Raleigh, the smart odds are that one of them scribbled the smiley face on your hand with a sharpie when you paid five bucks at the door. So now we're putting them on stage and who saw it coming...they are fucking great. Front man, Bart Tomlin, is a crooner. Intimate, breathy, bel canto...he can tell an entire story within a singular scale of rich baritone notes, and then pull a tear as it tapers to a fragile and broken ending. It's a vocal formula of strong yet vulnerable character and when mixed with the band's mesmerizing balance of confidence and faults, unassuming irresistibility is the product. --Carrboro Ninja
The Last Tallboy
a Sasquatch sighting
Jake Bredenberg smiles for the camera just in front of the King's Barcade smoking lounge after The Last Tallboy's set.