The Golden Bull, Oakland
There are seemingly two types of bands, those that are easily defined by a genre and those who allude any notion of category, Catch Prichard is the later. The local San Francisco band is bound by neither genre nor style, but rather has forged their own unique sound through the layering of interesting instrumentals and depth defying vocals. Playing an intimate show at Oakland’s The Golden Bull, Catch Prichard reawakened our love for live music with their standout show.
A few things become immediately evident when you first hear Catch Prichard on stage; the first is undoubtedly the uniqueness of their sound, a compilation formed from frontman Sawyer’s intensely rich voice and the bands mixture of instrumentals that include a pedal steel and a three-piece string section. The second is their genre bending sensibility, psychedelic and folk nuances melding under the stage lights. And third is their intense yet warm stage presence that, added with the other two, craft a haunting vortex of sound and sights that transports the audience to another reality. If you had to sum this all up in one word it would be, special, and this specialness was on full display as the band took to The Golden Bull Stage.
At The Golden Bull Catch Prichard’s set started with “Tangled Grace.” Bathed in yellow and green lights that cascaded over the brick wall, the faint sounds of strings circulated around the room, launching the show with this euphoric ethos that emulated the first day of spring, or perhaps and more accurately the first show after a year of Covid lockdown. With a hint of 60s magic the tune has a timelessness to it, the quickening pace bringing people from their chairs to the dance floor. Intermingling the transfixing vocals and the layered instrumentals, “Tangled Grace” was the perfect show opener. As the lights fade the band launches into “Lipstick and Fur.” With a cinematic swing the melodramatic song was clearly a fan favorite, the crowd singing along loudly as the band played.
“You’re the Worst” highlight’s frontman Sawyers voice; what I imagine whiskey would sound like his vocals are rich and deep, this baritone bass that is unlike anything I have ever heard. Fans obviously love not only the grit of the vocals, but also the stripped back nature of the song, pausing and swaying along as the animated piano and bass fills the room. Slow and steady, “Woman” allows the pedal steel to shine. Travis’ dominance of the instrument is evident, drawing out every feeling and emotion from the pedal steels strings. With a twinge of melancholy and a growing sense of sweetness, the song transfixed the listeners as they clung to every note played and every lyric sung.
A clash of the drums brings in “Cool Cool Water”, shifting the mood the band bounces around the stage. Sawyer pops on the microphone to introduce the next song, telling the fans they are going to be doing a ‘reggae song but it’s taking place in Texas.’ An odd mixture, but “Lawless Land” certainly mixes this reggae vibe with a Texas twang. Highlighting the genre bending ability of Catch Prichard, “Lawless Land” is a standout from the night. The night ends with “Commander”; as the strings break through the still night air a repetitive drum crashes with the lyrics. The song is layered in intrigue and mystery yet has this sound that you want to listen to on repeat. In a swirl of sound and lights, Catch Prichard wraps up their show with intoxicating instrumentals and powerful vocals, the perfect way to cap off their night.
Any music lover knows how special shows are right now, after 685 day without live music many of us are itching for some live sound. Catch Prichard’s intimate show at The Golden Bull both satisfied that live music itch and also left us parched for more. Accompanied by an incredible string quartet, the band’s layered sound and resounding vocals crafted a perfect moment in time. With their unique style and lyrical perfection Catch Prichard put on a stunning show at The Golden Bull, the perfect way to welcome us back to the land of live music.