American Aquarium returned to Off Broadway in St. Louis Monday night. Being a school night, the show did not sell out, but the room was full, and the energy on the stage was still high.
A few years ago, I made the prediction lead singer BJ Barham was about to “Isbell the shit out of sobriety”. He just celebrated five years sober recently. And I am happy to report I was not wrong. The song writing has gone to another level, much like Jason’s did when he cleaned up. BJ can’t match Isbell’s vocals, what i call the soaring and fading soul sound. But, BJ has the truth in the songs, and the conviction to deliver them with fervor on stage. The intensity, the look in his eyes as he attacks the microphone, turn already great songs into something to behold live. And I was there once again in what has become “my spot” at Off Broadway. House right, at the corner, feet from the bar.
The set list included everything you could ask for from the band, including opening with one of my personal underrated favorites St. Mary’s blended with Casualties. The mix of old and new stuff was a tight blend that works thanks to the constant energy. Even the old bitter stuff has a different feel to it now, and still lands perfect.
The trip to St. Louis started at Mission Taco and iTap Soulard for pre-show sustenance, because this is what I do.
In a world where streaming music exists, go to the shows, buy the merchandise. I came home with the autographed show poster, a shirt (which became Sarah’s when I didn’t notice they gave me the wrong size) and a hat (not pictured). It is the best way to support an independent artist. How do I know? Because there is a meme, and if I’ve learned anything from my family on Facebook, it is that memes are always true.
Also shot a few videos. I tend to not record whole songs. I do clips. The one exception for this show was I shot all of Unfortunate Kind, which was the acoustic encore opener.
And of course BJ stuck around after the show, I assume so he could get the chance to hang out with me and my shirt again.