American Aquarium — Jones Assembly
Live music is back, hallelujah, hallelujah! How do I know? Last week saw American Aquarium triumphantly return to OKC for a Sunday barn burner of a show. We all know the pandemic related shutdowns were hard on all aspects of the music community, and especially tough on those artists that tour non-stop. I’d speculate that BJ Barham and American Aquarium really got pinched. I mean, they had just released arguably, their finest album to date in Lamentations, and I remember how excited Barham was to get those songs out on the road. Lamentations was my pick for album of 2020, and I can guarantee you that I was really looking forward to the scheduled gig here. Then the bottom fell out. Fortunately, American Aquarium persevered virtually for the time being, until things began to right themselves, hopefully for good.
So you see, it wasn’t a surprise that once the band took the stage, there was a determined look in Barham’s eye I can’t say I’ve seen before. Instead of grabbing his trademark Gibson J-45, he strapped on that red electric Jaguar, and floored it, with little regard for the consequences. The pure rock and roll glory of Casualties>St. Mary’s left absolutely no doubt we were in for a good one. Over the next two hours, we were treated to a furious run through the majority of Lamentations as well as the usual stops from Wolves, Burn.Flicker.Die. and Things Change. This was the last show of this leg of the tour, so the boys left absolutely nothing standing. Oh yeah, and look forward to the “wedding band” story somewhere down the line if you haven’t already. Another classic tale delivered like only Barham can. In addition to Barham, American Aquarium consists of Shane Boeker, Rhett Huffman, Neil Jones, Ryan Van Fleet and Alden Hedges. For me, this is the best line-up to date. They’re dialed in and it shows.
American Aquarium will be back out on the road in August. If somehow you’ve never seen them for yourself, I can’t encourage you enough to go check them out.
Keep up to date with American Aquarium here: http://www.americanaquarium.com/
The wonderful Emily Scott Robinson got things started before American Aquarium took the stage.
Robinson, like Barham is a North Carolinan, who has been critically acclaimed in multiple Americana based writers including our own John Michael Antonio: (https://americanahighways.org/2021/01/11/her-voice-2020-a-playlist-that-celebrates-the-women-of-americana-updated/)
I really enjoyed what I heard. As many know, an American Aquarium audience can, shall we say, be rambunctious at times. Unfortunately, tonight it seemed like the audience was a little too talkative and unattentive during Emily’s set. Sadly, this trend was growing even before Covid. Robinson has a beautiful, sweet voice and combined with the cacophonous atmosphere, it made it difficult to really hear her. She handled like a true pro, finding her people in the crowd, and delivering directly to them. Later, she joined Barham and boys for some fun and harmonies. Hopefully she swings back through OKC at some point.
You can find out more about her here: https://www.emilyscottrobinson.com/