Live Review: Family of the Year, As Told Through Onstage Banter
On Friday night, Family of the Year played the Blind Pig. It was far from a full house but it was certainly a house of fans. Packed tight near the stage, it was easy to forget the stagnant bar and open spaces. But like any band worth their salt, they still put on one hell of a show, rousing the crowd to singalongs, clapping, and dancing on better known tracks like "Chugjug," "Hero," and "St. Croix." A folk/rock band in the vein of 2012 all-stars Milo Greene and the Lumineers, Family of the Year are more rock-y than the former and more beach-y than the latter. Yet they share that crisp and powerful sound - one that speaks to the aptitude and musical talent that's impossible to fake.
But the thing about Family of the Year is that they love to editorialize. Particularly singer/keyboardist Christina Schroeter and singer/guitarist Joseph Keefe. Since we found ourselves largely making notes on their banter and barbs, we thought it'd be fitting to let them tell the story of their Ann Arbor show.
Family of the Year takes the stage.
Fan: OMG that was so good!!
Christina Schroeter, on Michigan weather and making it out in the cold on a relatively an above-0 night: It's not that cold...pussies.
Schroeter: : We've never been here before, this is really fucking sick... [to bandmate] you broke a string!
Schroeter and Keefe proceed to banter and/or argue about USA chants, starting a USA chant, starting a Michigan chant, etc. Their familiarity makes the audience's presence almost instrusive. But it's fine because...
Keefe: This [next] one's about a time you left me at a party. It was fucked up.
Schroeter: You deserved it.
Keefe: [The next one] is slower, or maybe just sadder. A song for a Friday night.
Keefe, picking up a new guitar: I've missed this guitar. That's all I have to say about that.
Keefe, bringing drummer and brother Sebastian Keefe to the foreground for the next song: I got a little brother here. You all know little brothers. They need love. A little encouragement. Get up here.
Schroeter: This one's called Stupidland. It's about L.A., because it's a stupid land.
Schroeter: [This one's] about booze and love.
"Living on Love"
[We'd like to note here just how into the music everyone in the vicinity of the band was at this point. It was a lot.]
Keefe: This is a jam about your best friend. Or lover. Or best friend/lover. This is the one you're going to dedicate to them because everyone fucks up but you're still going to love 'em.
"In the End"
Schroeter, before inviting fans to "pay as much as you can" for their album Loma Vista at the merch table: Can I say something dumb our manager wants us to say?
Schroeter/Keefe/et al: Thank you so much.
The pleasure was ours. The music was engaging and well-executed, the intros off-handed, sassy, or both. Just how we like it. More photos from the show can be found here.