Although San Francisco’s Two Gallants may confine themselves on paper in the indie folk artists’ box, their live performance on Monday night could have put several metal heads’ shows to shame. The lone duo, consisting of guitarist/vocalist Adam Stephens and drummer Tyson Vogel, overtook the Bowery Ballroom, deafening the audience with their indie folk-rock sound, making sure the fans would have trouble hearing their alarm clocks for work in the morning.
Opening band Papa warmed up the crowd with its bass-heavy melodic rock. Bassist Daniel Presant captured the crowd’s attention with his bouncy basslines and twitchy movements while singer/drummer Darren Weiss crooned to the audience the romantic (sometimes sexy) lyrics. The addition of electronic clanking sounds of the keyboard and melodic guitar riffs made it hard for anyone’s body to resist moving.
After a hectic intermission involving a comedic scene of Two Gallants’ members scurrying all over the stage with the crew assistants to clear Papa’s equipment, all that remained in the dim blue light was a drum set, a guitar and two bearded, gallant men. The band opened with “Winter’s Youth” off of its latest album, The Bloom And The Blight. As Stephens lulled the audience into a trance with the song’s calming melody, he and Vogel instantaneously shattered the hushed atmosphere with a blood-curdling scream and thundering snare drum hits, turning the crowd into a sea of head bangers. Following with “Despite What You’ve Been Told,” the band’s hard-rock intensity didn’t waver for the rest of the night.
During the set up for “Las Cruces Jail,” Vogel joked with the audience about drummers playing shirtless. When a crowd member asked him to take off his shirt to see his scrawny bod, he replied, “Play drums shirtless? Fuck that! Shirts all the way!” He, however, responded positively to another sartorial request, promising to take his pants off. Sadly for this one fan, he did not come through with this promise.
Finishing their setlist drenched in sweat, Two Gallants took the time-honored leave of absence to let the audience roar with cheers and applause for an encore. To say that the audience bellowed with applause for the band would be a gross understatement. Finally Stephens (still attempting to dry himself with a towel) and Vogel reemerged from backstage to play a three-song encore, starting with dirty, porno-fitting “Dyin’ Crap Shotter’s Blues.” One fan requested this song so many times throughout the entire show that the band felt practically obligated to grant his wish. Following was the intimate “Cradle Pyre,” which was heightened by the mesmerizing effect of the blue-and-yellow lighting that covered the venue.
Before closing the night with the uplifting “Nothing To You,” several audience members joked with Vogel, asking whether or not he truly “rages” (referring to his T-shirt, which said, “I wanna rage” and had a Care Bear on it). He grinned and hollered to the crowd, “We rage every fucking night! Can’t you tell?” On cue, Stephens began strumming the melodic guitar riff to the closing number, transforming the Bowery Ballroom into an Irish pub, with everyone dancing together and singing their lungs out.