Band adds to basement heat

Natasha Allen

maginary Baseball League’s drummer Ryan Rayborn played the band’s Friday night show in his socks, his shoeless right foot spending most of the set off the ground.

A crowd of more than 100 people packed themselves in the basement of Westminster Church on Lehman Avenue to catch a live performance of the semi-local band, IBL. Several fans claimed to have followed the Nashville quartet for years.

Those same fans braved intense heat and a couple of pious lines from the evening’s opening acts before achieving musical salvation from the headlining group.

Like most good music, the sound is hard to describe.

Producing a sauntering euphoric effect, one might imagine IBL as the result of Radiohead meeting the edge of Chris Martin’s upper register, Neil Young’s early harmonica and Dave Abbruzzese.

IBL’s melodies are simple enough to be catchy, but far too emotionally savvy to be pop. The genre-bending texture provided by each of the four band member’s distinctly individual musical voices is perhaps its most redeeming quality. In a word, IBL is refreshing.

Ike Wassom, a sophomore from New Albany, Ind., and a DJ at Western’s Revolution 91.7 FM radio station, has played IBL tracks on his show, but had not seen the band live until Friday night.

“I theororize they will one day replace the air as what we breathe to stay alive,” Wassom, a longtime fan said before explaining the band’s sound was “like opposite extremes colliding.”

Despite the stifling temperatures in Westminster’s basement, Robinson was dressed in jeans, Chuck Taylors and a black long sleeve sweater over a blue button-up shirt.

“Wow, it’s toasty,” he said about halfway through the show. “I think I’m wearing too many clothes.”

At least one girl in the audience took the bait, yelling back, “Take ’em off!”

“No dice,” a smiling Robinson said. “Sorry guys, we’re in church.”

The venue was dimly lit, with only three “stage” lights and a few small lamps placed around the long, low-ceiling room. A series of tables lined the far wall showcasing a nice spread of merchandise and band memorabilia.

Near the end of the night’s performance, Robinson crooned the opening lines of “A Lot to Say.”

The audience cheered and started singing along – the chorus of their voices blending so perfectly with the song, it was album-worthy.

Two local acts played in addition to the night’s headlining band: Shelley Shepherd, a mellow, folk lyricist whose airy vibrato voice bore slight resemblance to Alanis Morrissette; and Stellar Kin, a self-described indie-rock band whose impact was built in rigid waves of sound – recklessly vaulting from still water to tsunami in seconds.

But the best of the evening’s music was definitely brought up from south of the border.

Owensboro junior Meredith Tooley said she thought the show was great.

“We see them every time they’re in town,” she said of herself and her friend Dawn Wyant, also an Owensboro junior. “It’s always nice to get to see the same people you pass on your way to class at a place like this.” IBL will play with the bands Aireline and Glossary at Wallstreet at MTSU on Sept. 4 at 9:30 p.m. The cover is $5.

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