Concert Review: Tristen and Jeremy Messersmith

February 12, 2014: The Pike Room, Pontiac, Michigan

The new Jeremy Messersmith album, Heart Murmurs, increased my want to see him live exponentially the more I listened to it. Thankfully I only had to wait a week after the release to hear him in the perfect intimate setting of The Pike Room.

I hadn’t done my homework, so I went in knowing absolutely nothing about the opener, Tristen. Sometimes I prefer it that way as I tend to appreciate and enjoy a band more after hearing them live and that was definitely the case here. While I’m not typically a fan of 80’s electronic driven pop, I really enjoyed Tristen. Her voice sounds a bit retro folk infused with new age pop which makes it quite unique.

It also helped that she seemed at ease in front of the audience, making jokes and rolling with the punches when there were a few technical difficulties. She even took a request from the audience, playing “Baby Drugs” when someone randomly shouted out the title between songs. My favorite song that she played was “Island Dream” which is definitely as dreamy as the title suggests and a great song for Tristen to showcase the range and emotion she puts into her voice. I picked up her newest album, Caves, after her set and I’m sure it will find its way into my regular rotation of music.

Jeremy didn’t keep us waiting, getting onto stage only a few minutes after Tristen left it. He started his set with “Tourniquet” which is the first single off of his new album. The song sounded perfect, easily as good as it does on the album which got me excited for the rest of the evening. After finishing the first song he declared that “this show, without hyperbole, will be the greatest rock show ever!” winning me over even more as I love when an artist interacts with the audience and has a sense of humor. The night was filled with comments likes this along with playful banter with the band and insights into how certain songs had come into existence.

Perhaps the greatest story he had for the night was when he explained that the next song he was going to play was written on possibly the worst night of his life: the night that he went and saw Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace. Like many other Star Wars fans, he had waited in anticipation of the night and like those same fans, he was quite disappointed by the experience. So much so that he went home and burned his Star Wars shirt in the family’s burn barrel in his version of a Jedi funeral. And so the song “Tatooine” came into existence.

The stories and lighthearted chatting with the crowd on top of the wonderful music really helped to make for an perfect evening. Though the night was mostly focused on songs off the new album, he did break out some classics like “Dillinger Eyes” and “A Girl, a Boy and a Graveyard” and even treated us all to a new song, “I Don’t Trust That Boy”. Like all concerts, the night was over too soon ending with the last song of Heart Murmurs, “Someday, Someone”, a fitting song to end the night on.