Support: Kirby Brown
Promoter: LA NOUVELLE MACHINE
Doors open: 7:30pm
Start at: 8pm
Everywhere off Hatteras Island, the sounds of Chicamacomico are present, like an incantation to intoxication.
But as a former lifeboat station built in 1874 on North Carolina's Outer Banks, the name is perhaps the perfect metaphor and title for American Aquarium's ninth studio album. The Old North State is tattooed on the bones of frontman BJ Barham, who has never lived more than two hours from his hometown of Reidsville. But more than that, what better way to represent an album about loss than a place built to save the lives of sailors and castaways? The song as a kind of salvation that Barham hopes for this album, could make for fans the image of the band's development. Sometimes when we drown, music keeps us afloat. "When these life changes happen, we feel like we're the only ones dealing with these problems," Barham said. "I hope this album serves as a balm to anyone who has experienced this kind of loss over the past few years. I hope it makes them feel a little less isolated and disconnected. I want them to know that someone is going through exactly the same issues and that they are not alone. With songs addressing personal loss - the loss of his mother and grandmother, the loss of a child, the loss of youth and time and the creative spark that drives him - Chicamacomico feels stripped down and boneless in its instrumentation compared to previous records. The orchestration is recalled, leaving the lyrics bare front and center. It's reminiscent of Barham's 2016 solo album Rockingham, and that may be partly the result of producer Brad Cook, who produced both albums as well as the band's 2015 record Wolves. But it's probably more a sign of the maturing sound and expanding scope of a songwriter now fully comfortable and confident in his own skin.