Review: Aubrey, Ghost in Light at the Jackpot Saloon

Moody prog rock and soulful indie pop warmed up the brave souls who ignored weather and finals in order to make it out to the Jackpot Saloon on Friday night. Aubrey, hometown darlings of the indie scene, returned home and Ghost in Light made its debut in Lawrence.

It looked liked the four members of Ghost in Light planned on keeping the tone of the show on a mellow note. Guitarists Jason House and Chandler Evans, bass player Ben Evans and drummer Shae Moseley kept their seats for the entire set. Maybe that was enough to ground them as their first song, "Demonolith", blasted off into intense and droning guitar melodies, accompanied by tight harmonies and gut-kicking drum beats. They kept up that fierce energy for all their songs while pounding out rhythms with tapping feet and nodding heads.

The St. Louis band showed a lighter side with some pop-ish tracks like "The Snow is Soaking My Shoes" and "Evil Happy Jack". The live version of "Evil Happy Jack" sounded better than its album counterpart because it got crunchier on the guitars, drums and sass.

Aubrey kicked up the show to the next level of sweet melodic goodness. The Free State High School grads are on tour to promote their new album, "Honey and the Shame", on Deaf Cat Records.

Billboard Magazine tapped Aubrey as one of the top indie bands in the Midwest and thousands of web visitors from Denmark to Antarctica have sampled digital tracks from the band's website.

At the Jackpot Saloon, Aubrey weaved a dreamy audio world with lush string arrangements, synthesized pop beats and introspective lyrics. On "Machine Gun Honey," Jon Ulasien and Paul Becker came up with some ear-catchy guitar riffs that channeled the tinny-Eighties vibe of New Order.

Rock, pop and jazz influences collided in "Turbulence" and highlighted the rich vocal mix of Ulasien and Jamie Netzer .

Aubrey kept up its sunny attitude with upbeat rock pop songs like "Rayon" and more tranquil tracks like "Chameleon Jukebox". Robert Weinaug's piano work on "Chameleon Jukebox" sounded beautiful, like the first snowfall mesmerizing an audience new to winter.

All the band members doubled up on instruments and it was entertaining to see musicians like Alex Pierrelee jumping from drum set to the bass guitar and vocalist Netzer switching from tambourines to guitar.

I figured a beer and cocktail would be enough to ward off the cold winter chills. Music by Aubrey and Ghost in Light also helped warm-up my soul.

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