Desert Noises is a four-piece indie rock band from Provo, Utah consisting of Kyle Henderson (vocals/guitar), Pat Boyers (guitar), Tyler Osmond (bass) and Brennan Allen (drums). They’ve toured consistently for the greater part of the last four years since releasing Mountain Sea in 2011. They’ve seamlessly made the road their home and even found time to pit-stop and record their newest album, 27 Ways, which has received unending praise and accolades throughout the industry since its release last year. The Noise boys are by no means strangers to Charlotte, thanks to local superstars and music supporters Don and Laurie Koster. The Kosters provide a southeastern homebase for the band since falling in love with the quartet’s alluring, Tom Petty-inspired, timeless take on rock music. Not to mention that each of the boys comes charmingly equipped with the sweetest of demeanors and easiest of smiles.
It’s quite possible that maybe Desert Noises have spent too much time on the long and winding highways, which can all look the same after a certain point, because the band ran an hour behind schedule due to a GPS blunder. Not to worry, though. The Evening Muse extended its famously cozy, warm atmosphere to dock all the fans who showed up at the scheduled show time. Individuals and two-piece parties were soon all chatting together over local beers and cigarettes to share stories of the last time they’d seen the band, their opinions on the new album, “Did you catch them at Bonnaroo?” and “Have you seen Brennan since he cut his mane of hair?!” If Desert Noises are going to teach anyone anything with their relentless touring, it’s that old proverb describing the journey to be as great as the destination.
The van whipped around the intersection of N. Davidson and E. 36th St. with all four musicians’ faces plastered to the windows, full of jubilation towards the welcoming committee of people outside celebrating their arrival. A handful of longtime fans ran to help unload the gear off the van, effortlessly exemplifying the NoDa area and Evening Muse’s supportive, neighborly vibe. The band set up, sound-checked and situated themselves on-stage within 10 minutes, ready to show all who had patiently waited that it would be without a doubt worth it.
Lead singer Kyle Henderson looked out at the adoring crowd now gathered inside, back at the band made up of his three best friends, glinted a smile and tip-toed into 27 Ways opener “Grandma Looks.” Pent up and impatient to expand, the song’s soft vocal intro only lasted about 20 seconds before the band, anxious and eager, base-jumped into a manic torrent of pure rock ‘n’ roll. The band bounced around the stage using their instruments as tools to expel the frustrations of their tardiness and the venue brilliantly exploded with energy. The second song was a lower tempo offering which provided time for the band to catch their breath and gulp a refreshing sip of beer. Pat Boyers howled out an impressive, angsty guitar solo, coyly enlightening the audience as to what a talented and skillful guitarist he’s become. “Mice in the Kitchen” paraded out among the crowd driven by a marching drumbeat and stylishly twangy guitar picking. There are certain songs that magically turn even your most mundane of shoes into sparkling dancing shoes and “Mice in the Kitchen” embodies and illuminates as that type of song.
The Noise boys settled into their stride of youthful, joyous rock, allowing any earlier grievances to melt away completely. Henderson and bassist Tyler Osmond two-stepped for the audience as the music boastfully swelled then avalanched with humbled grace. Another Boyers solo emerged, offering no respite before segueing into the classic fan favorite “Oak Tree” from Mountain Sea. Henderson’s body writhed in front of the microphone, desperate to scream out his words as if the lyrics held his last breath. The music’s growing intensity swelled exponentially and Henderson admitted in earnest, “I’m scared to lose you / scared to lose what I thought I had found.”
As a treat, the band played a brand new song, allegedly about getting high and comparing a former love to a bad tattoo. The song was a gushing wave lapping against a west coast shoreline. The bass line, dark and encompassing, provided an atmosphere for Henderson’s vocals to lighthouse the listener home on a lost evening. The song brought forth the comfort and familiarity the band has been praised for in the past, showing steady strength and confidence in their technique. With so much touring, Henderson’s guitar is chipped, worn and all but broken. It is an extension of his own self, burdened and wearied with a uniquely beautiful perspective that comes from seeing the world through a heart that knows what its like to be broken. After making eye contact with the transfixed crowd, Henderson let himself crumble and fall into the reverie of the band, released into the music’s sermon.
Gathered together, Henderson asked, “You guys like the blues?” and jumped off stage to let Boyers take the spotlight. Boyers showed no coyness this time as remarkable, extraordinary blues chords soulfully cranked out of the guitar and passionately textured themselves into a psychedelic mountain of sound. Accompanied by equally exceptional solos by Allen and Osmond, building an even higher peak, Henderson crashed back onto stage, clapping and dancing on the peak of the mountain.
Allen and Boyers stepped off stage while Henderson performed the intimate “Smoke Breathing Monsters,” a song about quitting smoking and holding onto life. Henderson and Osmond perfectly harmonized the more pleading parts of the song and it became a hymn for fulfilment. All four members hopped back into position to dance out “Shiver,” another one of those exhilarating foot-stomping tunes. Funky chords and determined rock roots shook The Evening Muse’s insides. The band’s bluesy influences came out to play and coaxed the audience’s feet into an fearless slide and groove. “Tell Me You Love Me” was a billowing, imploring experience, defining the instinctive need of the soul to be wanted and loved. With a knowing and ageless twinkle in its eye, the song gently touched the loneliness inside each and every person. Ending their hour-long set with the incredible “Dime in My Pocket,” the night built itself up into a perfect dream fulfillment.
Desert Noises almost immediately becomes your best friend. Their songs inexplicably see your hardships and counter-offer them with a dance and sing, without barrier, through the suffering. The band has at very least 27 Ways to relate and understand their listeners, bellowing out, “You make those hopeless feelings OK.” The band’s performance brazenly urges you to climb your own mountains without fear of falling, explore your own terrain without fear of getting lost and howl out at your own desert noises.