Article and photos by Melodie Yvonne Ramey
LAFAYETTE, IN – A very special show transpired at the Lafayette Brewing Company in Lafayette, Indiana just a few evenings ago. This concert of another color was a hybrid sandwich of beautiful traditional electric rock wrapped on either side of a good helping slice of ethereal acoustic, and it would be in one of the best venues in town so it was a must see. The band performing this three set juggling act, SpaceWords, is a town favorite so no matter the venue it is often standing room only. A lot of times concert goers will skip out on the opener, but with news of special guests Steven Wagler opening and Abby Eddy on cello during the acoustic session spectators slowly started filling up tables in the LBC long before the lights dimmed for the show.
Steven Wagler took the stage alone with his guitar, and at first the large stage seemed like it would swallow them both whole. The moment he started playing and singing, though, a larger than life musical presence escaped him that filled every nook and cranny in the air. There was a smile on every face in the room as he dished out helping servings of tasty originals like “Mary Beth in A-Minor” with a side of inspiring renditions of Leonard Cohen’s “Chelsea Hotel #2” and many more. Then he topped it all off with a mind blowing version of Rob Zombie’s “Dragula” which newly energized the crowd. There would be a quick break before the headlining band would take the stage, but for some it was obvious that Wagler’s set had them preheated like an oven, and there’d be no cooling off anytime soon.
SpaceWords took the stage to a chorus of hoots and hollers from the crowd. Their originals are so powerful they’re already classics to many, and everything they cover they manage to pull off like the masters themselves. It’s no wonder the room was packed with the combination of musical talent amongst Aaron Ade on guitar, Kevin Hull on guitar & vocals, William John Pinnick on guitar & vocals, Kelly Greene on bass, and Jeffrey Lageveen on drums. They whipped out some powerful renditions in the first electric set for the night with a list that included “Gonna Leave You”, “In My Head” and “Make It Wit Chu” by the illustrious Queens of the Stone Age. Their own songs like “Cricket” and “Wide Eyed” were every bit as enthusiastically impassioned as the excited audience by the end of the first set.
The second set began with Pinnick exhibiting an enormous amount of excitement about playing an acoustic show as well as showing his great appreciation to the very talented Abby Eddy for joining them on his favorite instrument, the cello. They immediately broke into “The Man Who Sold the World”, a song originally by the legendary David Bowie, and it was just as achingly heart felt played by SpaceWords as it was during Nirvana’s Unplugged performance in the 90s. The guys had some fun, and played a phenomenal version of Blind Melon’s “Skinned” complete with Kevin whipping out a kazoo. An awe inspiring version of REM’s “Losing My Religion” had Greene trading instruments to show off his extraordinary talent on the mandolin and switching positions to better meld with Ade’s expertly savvy strumming all while Pinnick emitted vocals so passionate they would make even an angel weep with joy. The band’s original songs gone acoustic were just as inspirational as their remakes. The simmered down version of “Can’t Complain” carried a calm, cool, and collected demeanor in Hull’s amazingly versatile voice that definitely had the crowd feelin’ fine. Arguably their most amazing melody of the evening was the stripped down version of “Bury” which morphed into an absolutely mesmerizing phenomenon when completed with Abby’s breathtaking exhibition of skills. Every draw of her bow across the strings was like a step closer to ecstasy, and by the end of the song every piece of flesh in the house was adorned with fresh goose pimples as well as tingling souls.
A short intermission allowed a change of instruments for SpaceWords and a minute for the audience to collect themselves after succumbing to the serenity of the astonishing acoustic set. As the band took the stage again the room was buzzing with excitement for the final installment. They played “I Was Sleepin’”, and it was every bit as hauntingly beautiful as their rendition of “Optimistic” by Radiohead that followed. The guys broke into “Right as Rain” next, and then “Bore” which is always a personal favorite for many. They closed out the evening with “Mean Mug” although the audience begged for more, but unfortunately they would be left insatiable until another day. They reluctantly left the warm inviting atmosphere of the Lafayette Brewing Company meandering slowly back out into the chilly night, but memories of SpaceWords incendiary performance would cradle them until they found the safety of their warm beds back in their very own little galaxies.