Juniper Tar & Strand of Oaks at the Terrace 6.11.10

Summer has officially arrived, Madison.  Last Friday night, the Terrace brought out a huge crowd drinking countless pitchers, and enjoying the pink setting sun behind mountainous clouds while sailboats drifted around Mendota in anticipation for a night of indie-folk music.  Before their concert with Strand of Oaks and These United States, three of the members from Juniper Tar- Ryan, Jason, and Aaron- played a song amongst the trees (video will be posted soon) for the few people wandering Lakeshore path on the way to the Union.  Their harmonic voices melded sound with scenery in a perfect portrait of a summers’ eve.

After the sun set, Strand of Oaks (aka Timothy Showalter) preformed first of the three acts. I was surprised, first of all, that Strand of Oaks was only one guy, and, second of all, that he could create such an atmosphere.  His quiet acoustic folk sound and beautiful, albeit melancholy  lyrics mellowed out the crowd.  A tweet by Juniper Tar basically sums up the show, “If u ever get a chance to listen to @Strandofoaks while losing your eyes to a lake, do it.”

Juniper Tar played next and, while we were only able to stay for two and a half songs, I was impressed how much the guys could live up to their recent hype.  I started listening to this Milwaukee band last February, and was very much enjoyed their album “To the Trees”.  The private preview we received earlier that evening was just the beginning as the addition of drums and a keyboard, along with more electric instruments supplied higher energy, yet the sound remained intimate.  As the crowd drew closer, we unfortunately needed to leave to set up for the house show at which the band would play later that night.  So, leaving a standing-room-only crowd, we packed up our camera equipment and headed on to part two of Wisconsin indie-music bliss.

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