Sound Scene Express

“I’m Only Dreaming” on the North Shore at Stage AE

Civilian and Eisley
The Club at Stage AE
March 5, 2017

Photos and recap by Whitney Lerch

Civilian and Eisley were the perfect end to the weekend, with their captivating performances at The Club at Stage AE on March 5th. The bands set out on the road together in mid-February to travel the country on a tour that will end in Phoenix, AZ on March 30th.

When I found out Civilian was headed to Pittsburgh, this show went immediately into my calendar, because I just couldn’t miss seeing them live. If you haven’t heard them, you’re truly missing out. They write songs that are so honest and raw that they leave you feeling gut punched. They write songs that will change your perspective on life. When you listen, you’ll find a “New Love”, I have no doubt.

Frontman Ryan Alexander, isn’t afraid to write about the overwhelming truths of the world that weigh heavy on many, but are often left untouched, for fear of offending or simply making people uncomfortable. When you say it out loud, it means it’s real and I’m convinced this is why the most powerful topics seem to be avoided. It has potential to cause conflict, debate and what if you are judged for having your own thoughts, emotions and opinions???? That fear of judgement and turmoil is problematic and prevents so many people from doing good and doing what’s right. It creates a culture of neutrality, which by definition prevents progress. Venturing into politics, religion, violence, selfishness and more, Alexander boldly leaves some of the deepest thoughts and emotions out on the stage and in those songs.

Pulling more than half of their set that night from their most recent (October 2016) release, the full length “You Wouldn’t Believe What Privilege Cost” and sprinkling in some older work, including the equally beautiful, yet infuriating (depending on which part of the story you are focusing on) James Kent, their gripping live performance lacked only in length, leaving me wanting more after a 7 song set. I will most definitely be found in the audience of their next Pittsburgh show and only hope it’s not too long before they return.

As I stated earlier, this show was on my “must see” list, because I was thrilled to see Civilian. And with it being a Sunday night (and me being old…), I thought I’d grab a few shots of Eisley and then head home early. However, Eisley was so full of energy and that voice of lead singer Sherri DuPree-Bemis was spellbinding. I was literally stopped in my tracks and suddenly being tired on Monday morning no longer mattered.

Now, interestingly enough, despite Eisley headlining this tour, I’d actually only heard of them when Civilian announced the tour and had only listened a bit prior to the show. That bit of listening was enough for me to know Eisley would be good, but honestly, they were simply incredible. Their whimsical vibe was brilliantly augmented from the start, when the stage was filled with bubbles as they began their set.

Sherri’s infectious energy and drive to deliver an incredible performance was inspiring. At one point, she actually stopped the band to start a song over, because she wasn’t perfectly pleased with her vocals. She sounded flawless the first time around to me, but I can understand the extra level of self-criticism that must come with being on stage. Her formidable confidence and ability to stop the show, restart a song and deliver unerringly for the remainder of the night was simply awe-inspiring. Eisley gained a fan in me that night and now I’m simply trying to figure out how I hadn’t been introduced to this illustrious group before now.

Civilian Set List:
New Love
Cut & Run
James Kent



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About The Author

Whitney Lerch

I've always loved music and there's nothing better than live music. There is just something so special about experiencing the music for yourself and feeling the passion that comes with a live performance. So, when I got into photography several years back, it only made sense to merge two of my favorite things in life. With no formal training, I bought myself a decent camera, after getting frustrated with the sub-par images I was getting with my point and shoot. I headed out and started wasn't pretty at first, but I fumbled my way through, did some google and YouTube searches and taught myself how to use my new favorite toy. I started out taking photos at concerts on my own, any time a venue would let my DSLR in to a show, but I wanted more and I wanted my photos to mean something. Sound Scene Express offers me that and offers so much to the local music scene in Pittsburgh. With all of the unbelievable musical talent in the city, as well as all of the great touring musicians that come through, I'm honored to be able to capture moments from some of the best performances you'll find in the city, to share with the community. I spend my days practicing medicine, taking care of some incredibly sick kids and Sound Scene Express has offered me truly therapeutic outlet that I am passionate about and thankful for. There are some unbelievably talented musicians here in Pittsburgh and I'm thrilled that I get to help share their work with you all!

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