Other Lives @ Great Scott 2.16.12
by Nick Hugon, published February 28th 2012
photos by Rock Cousteau
I’m not, but I wish I was one of the people to whom Other Lives was something more familiar than “The Band That Will Tour With Radiohead Later.” And no, I don’t mean I wish I knew them as “The Band That Toured With Bon Iver Earlier.”
The Oklahoma City 5-piece seems to have struck it rich with their knack for getting selected to support indie and alternative music’s biggest names with the opportunity to play to arena crowds of 20,000, as opposed to the odd 250 that can fit in Great Scott. And that’s always good, right?
Well… no. Not always.
Don’t get me wrong, the publicity is great. An up-and-coming band is constantly hankering for more ears, and there’s no introduction in indie music like being hand chosen by Radiohead as tour-mates. But this is a big step. Other Lives needs time to grow and play mid-sized venues full of their own fans, not Radiohead fans. If deprived of that chance, Other Lives could well find themselves being some other band that Radiohead fans like, but not as much, rather than one possessing its own base of support that has no affiliation with an established body.
Other Lives, mature for a band only two albums old, are ready for a bigger stage, too. Great Scott’s feeble acoustics couldn’t do justice to their thunderous, two-man percussion section, and vocalist Jesse Tabish seemed completely at ease improvising and taking control of the show, covering a Leonard Cohen song on his own to pass the time during a technical mishap. A better sound system will only help to flesh out Other Lives’ music, but that can be found at the 1,000-capacity Paradise, not only amidst the 20,000 or so that can fit in TD Garden for concerts.
Other Lives have all the pieces in place to launch a fantastic career. The band is composed of accomplished musicians, sophomore LP Tamer Animals is a great record, and the band is finding recognition in high places among musicians. But touring is the biggest part of being a young band, and there’s only so far a band can go pleasantly surprising concertgoers there to see Bon Iver or Radiohead. The Radiohead tour certainly isn’t the kind of chance a band turns down, but it has to be followed by persistence and a willingness to stay on the road. Other Lives have the chops to pull an audience back for more, it just remains to be seen if they possess the necessary stamina to do so.