By Shandra Back
Eyes sweep from left to right at the Sinclair on Monday. A red fedora. Muscle tee beneath a sweater. Flowing fabrics of warm tones. A blue collared shirt.
Distinct style marked the players of the night, from dress to vocals and movement. Each leading the crowd through an emotional journey and a spectacular expression of limbs.
Gone Gone Beyond, a folk band of electronic and varying musical styles, arrived in Boston for the last night of their 10-show October tour. The band consists of David Block, Danny Musengo, Kat Factor, and Mel Semé. Yet, not all four appeared on tour.
On October 11, six days before the first show in Atlanta, GA, Factor announced on Instagram that she would be stepping back from the tour to spend time with her new baby. Cassandra Stewart, a musician based in Nashville, TN took Factor’s place on the tour, addressing herself at the Boston show as Factor’s “weird, queer psychedelic cousin.”
The four figures stood in line, like soloists in a choir performance. Harmonizing Canyon through the mics, the performance began.
“Close your eyes…,” Block vocalized. In a quick guided meditation, air collectively sucked in and expanded gratitude for live music and for loved ones far beyond the bounds of the darkened space.
The energies donning opposite outfits exuded enough of it to captivate an audience on their own. Musengo, Semé, and Stewart did just that, each taking their spot on center stage throughout the show.
Musengo steps out for the first few sets, unbuttoning the cardigan as his body warms from the heat of motion and sound.
As he hits another note, his body pulls sharply down in reaction to the vocal release. It’s wet and filled with notches: folk mixed with the voice of gravelly blues. He steps back and Stewart fills the absence. Her vocals were like water, soaking through Musengo’s sharpened pebbles. Her clothes reflect her presence: a feminine radiation of flowing pinks and orange.
The night warms the space with acoustic songs like Canyon, Little Moon, and Things Are Changing. It shifts again when Stewart questions the crowd if they’re ready to dance. Hoots erupt. This crowd is certainly not ‘too cool’ to move. They oblige to the request for an energy increase. And thus, the cozy space promptly morphs into a rave, onstage and off. Lighting shifts from singular shades to bouncing rainbows and a previously quiet disco ball from above swirls with the groove.
Semé ducks out and a few seconds later the crowd erupts in cheers when he returns, t-shirt gone, somewhere beyond the stage. His chiseled physique rolls in and out with the pulsing beat as his arms extend like a bird launching into psychedelic flight for Take Your Wings.
The crowd, filling the space comfortably, swayed with the guitar melodies, creating couple bubbles and macking in pairs all over the floor. Now, nearing the end of the night, arms circle in the air, and bodies bob as the groove travels deeper, Semé leading the bunch from his raised view.
In a predictable, yet crowd-pleasing, encore, the band faded out the night with the song that no Gone Gone Beyond concert could run without. When Coast came on, there was a collective knowing that this was it. Yet for the band, this was really it.
There was no need for a gratitude meditation at the finish. As the music dimmed and the lights brightened, the four bowed, basking in the love as they sent it back out and brought the October tour to a close.