LIVE IN CONCERT: THE ASTLE FAMILY
What would you do for a Klondike bar? Fight a polar bear in a bare knuckle boxing match? Sell your country's nuclear codes from your Florida estate? Now, what would you do to have an ounce of talent that any one of the Astle siblings have?
As I stated above, last night at Velour was a family affair. All four Astle siblings played with their respective bands. It felt like a 1970s Christmas special showcase. You’ve heard of the Jackson Five and the Osmonds. And there are plenty of bands consisting of brothers: the Bee Gees, the Allman Brothers Band, the Avett Brothers, and Kings of Leon to name a few. But last night was different because each sibling—while assisting their brother or sister during their set—is so uniquely different but equally talented.
The night started with the oldest of the bunch, Dylan Astle’s band, Pop Warner. And unlike Brandon Flowers, he does look a thing like Jesus—if Jesus's second coming came during the mid-00s emo boom, but he still couldn’t let go of a grunge aesthetic. With his younger brother Max Astle on bass, it kind of looks like The Passion of the Christ 2: Electric Boogaloo in which Jesus and his brother (who bears a striking resemblance-beard and all) rock down to Electric Avenue, and then they take it higher. Pop Warner is a punk band who has graced the Provo punk scene for years. Their sound reminds me of a more punk version of early Taking Back Sunday. It’s an all-around good time.
Next up, we have Max Astle’s band, Callery Pears. I’ve already talked about Callery Pears at length, and you can read more about what I have to say about them here. However, the sheer tidal wave of sound that they produce will never cease to amaze me. During one song, they had dueling solos between the trumpet and guitar, and then they did a punk, borderline ska version of “Linger” by the Cranberries—an homage I didn't know I needed.
If the brothers look like white Jesus, then that makes the sisters angels but strictly in the biblical sense of being unearthly beings that sing and bring you messages, and damn, they can sing.
Sabrina, the youngest of the musical Brady Bunch went third in the lineup, and she’s got more range than Steph Curry. At times it's an all-out angsty assault that reminds me of another hometown favorite, Drusky, and the very next song, she can serenade you like the best of them. Think Letters to Cleo or the fictional band Pink Slip from Freaky Friday. She’s a phenomenal lyricist that has clearly learned a lot from her three older siblings. My favorite line all night had to come from her as she sang, “I’ll probably be apologetic as I die.” It scratched that nostalgic itch by reminding me of the wonderfully similar line, “The truth is you could slit my throat, and with my one last gasping breath I’d apologize for bleeding on your shirt,” from Taking Back Sunday’s “You’re So Last Summer.”
Finally, Collette ended the night. While she might be the obvious outlier of the four siblings in terms of height, music style, and music genre (opting for a rock sound a la Stevie Nicks and Patti Smith with a bit of classic country mixed in just for kicks and giggles), Collette vocally packs a punch bigger than anyone of her siblings. She approaches each song as if she is Carrie Underwood’s persona in "Before He Cheats" and was just delivered the news of her husband's infidelity.* There were a few times when her vocals forced me to look up from my notes in awe like two fish hooks had abruptly yanked on my eyebrows, turning heads like that one clip of Christina Aguilera in Burlesque.**
If I had to describe the night generally, it would be fun. They were having so much fun on stage, and it showed. It was a celebration in every sense of the word. I haven’t seen white people this turnt for music since they found out Elvis was white. It was like each song was "Mr. Brightside" or "Come On Eileen."
Seeing the other three siblings as the one fronted their own project was a sight to behold. You could see the pride beaming from their faces as they supported each other, on stage or off, with Dylan and Max playing the entire night. My siblings don’t even like each other enough to have our own group chat, let alone support each other to this kind of level. The entire night felt like I was intruding on some intimate moment, never more so than when they finished out the night just the four of them singing a song that their dad—who was in the audience—had written.
So, I ask again, what would you do for a Klondike bar? Well, if that Klondike bar were half as good as the Astle family band extravaganza, I’d sell my soul to the devil, and the ink would be dry before he could even finish asking the question.
*arguably with good reason
**I’ve never seen the movie, but it was the preview clip on Netflix—I swear.
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