On Carbon Leaf

Last night Carbon Leaf played a free concert in downtown Raleigh as part of 96 Rock’s FreeFest.

When I was a student at the University of Richmond Carbon Leaf would play the Cellar, the campus bar, about once a month. The Cellar was little more than a hole in the wall — very tiny venue that might seat about twenty people. Five piece band — drums, bass, rhythm guitar, lead guitar (and sometimes mandolin), and vocalist with their amp stack on a really cramped stage. You could get really close and lose your hearing for about a day. Good times.

I hadn’t seen Carbon Leaf since I left Richmond in 1999, though I’d kept up with their albums since. So last night I went downtown, and it was nearly perfect weather for an outdoor concert. Not a lot of people showed up, maybe a few hundred, and maybe a third were really into the band, including a very obvious set of groupies near the front.

Mainly they played songs off their fifth (and newest) album, Indian Summer, though there were a few songs, like “The Boxer” and “Torn to Tatters,” off their fourth album, Echo Echo. They played an hour-long set, and it was a very good hour. They weren’t quite the jam band that I remember from six years ago, but they had some long instrumental bridges that were quite interesting.

All in all it was a fun time.

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