Center steps out of comfort zone with Civil Twilight

By on January 16, 2013
Civil Twilight
Civil Twilight

Civil Twilight brings an early U2 vibe to the Center – courtesy photo


Jackson Hole, Wyo.-The Center for the Arts has never staged a band like Civil Twilight. Not even close. Elements of early U2, Coldplay, Radiohead, and a Bono-esque falsetto courtesy of lead vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Steven McKellar, Civil Twilight has a piano-driven, poppy alt-rock sound that’s often swirling in a depth of analog delay and atmospheric ambience. Lyrically and vocally, the music is emotional and passionate – sadness, hope, regret, love. The music engulfs these emotions, exponentially growing towards the epic. Then, a piano ballad winds you down.

A quartet, three of the members grew up together and formed the band in Cape Town, South Africa. The two brothers – Steven and guitarist Andrew McKellar along with drummer Richard Wouters were joined by keyboardist Kevin Dailey earlier this year. In 2005, the original trio emigrated to L.A. with high hopes, eventually landing in Nashville, the latter of which inspired the lyrical base of sophomore release, Holy Weather.

“America is an incredible place of opportunity. As a foreigner coming here, it’s like the Promised Land,” Steven told USA Today last July. “[Our heritage] makes our music more nostalgic. We still see America as a place where we need to prove ourselves.”

Civil Twilight, 7 p.m., Thursday, at the Center Theater. Tickets are $15/rear balcony, $25/main balcony and $35/orchestra. Jazz-fusion trio Michael Scalabrino and Spatial Relations opens., 733-4900.

‘The Voice’ star resumes Orbit
Mainstream exposure has touched seven-piece soul/R&B/jazz-funk, The Orbit Group, since making its annual stop at the Mangy Moose last year. Douglas, Wyoming-native and Casper College graduate, Aquile – the band’s lead vocalist – scored a spot on the summer season of “The Voice,” where he earned honors to be a member of Christina Aguilera’s “team.”
In a recent interview with KISS 104.7 FM in Casper, Aquile spoke openly about being the only African-American in Douglas where he sang in church choir before moving to the “big city” of Casper on a full-ride music/theater scholarship.

The Orbit Group is an interesting collective of schooled jazz musicians that once reminded me of The Roots blended with the patient R&B of Kool & The Gang. The sound has certainly morphed since their last visit. Give it a check …
The Orbit Group, 9:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday, at the Mangy Moose in Teton Village. Admission is $7.

Modern irie sprouts from Tribal Seeds
The Cali-styled roots-rock-reggae of Tribal Seeds’ last two releases each landed in the top five slots of the Billboard Reggae Chart. This is not your under-produced artists of yesteryear, but rather a booming rhythm section with all the production aesthetics of modern reggae in place. Massachusetts solo dub looping specialist, Stick Figure (a.k.a. Scott Woodruff), opens the show.

Tribal Seeds and Stick Figure, 9 p.m., Saturday at the Pink Garter Theatre. Tickets are $17 at The Rose, Pinky G’s and

The gospel according to Harlem
In a year that put them on “Good Morning America” (twice), a performance for President Obama and the First Lady, and tours across Japan and Canada, the 11-member Harlem Gospel Choir is spreading the gospel word with a major presence. Though boasting 65 overall musicians ranging in age from 17 to 70, the trimmed version of the traveling band typically features three sopranos, two contraltos and four tenors backed by keyboards and drums.

Harlem Gospel Choir, 8 p.m., Saturday, at the Center Theater. Tickets are $45 for reserved seating., 733-4900.

About Aaron Davis

Aaron Davis is a decade-long writer of Music Box, a singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, member of Screen Door Porch and Boondocks, founder/host of Songwriter’s Alley, and co-founder of The WYOmericana Caravan.

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