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Overseas at Home

Indie all-stars debut at the Parish
Doug Freeman, 1:30pm, Mon. Aug. 5, 2013
photo by Doug Freeman
Will Johnson leads Overseas Aug. 3 at the Parish

In 2009, Austinite Will Johnson (Centro-matic), Dave Bazan (Pedro the Lion), and Matt and Bubba Kadane (Bedhead) met in Denton to begin a collaboration. The death of their mutual friend Vic Chesnutt reverberated with all. It took three years for those songs to get fleshed out into Overseas’ eponymous debut album, released last month.

Wrapping up its inaugural three-show run of live performances at the Parish on Saturday, the group melded its sound expertly. Johnson and Bazan’s songwriting is strikingly divergent, but the Kadanes dynamic backing wove together the set-list in a powerfully controlled cadence.

Monahans served as the perfect setup to Overseas, the local quartet’s mellow and melodic overtones providing an epic ebb and flow as Greg Vanderpool’s dust-raked vocals bridged the space between Bazan and Johnson’s leads in the following set. Laying out songs from its recently released fourth album Leveler, the band swelled against the half-filled room with an expansive sweep.

Overseas subsequently launched with little announcement, Bazan opening out front with “Here (Wish You Were)” as Johnson manned the drums and the Kadanes plodded head-down into their guitars to the side of the stage. The hum of the amps met the hush of the respectful crowd, most hearing the songs for the first time. Johnson remained behind the kit to lead album opener “Ghost To Be,” and “Redback Strike,” his long hair a flail of tangling sweat.

Bazan delivered “Old Love” and “HELLP” before switching to drums in relieving Johnson, who moved center stage to unleash several new songs. He allowed that the group’s already prepping another album. Johnson’s rough, poignant vocals grated like a rusted gate on “Lights Are Gonna Fall” before both frontmen took to the mics in harmony and Matt Kadane handled percussion for “Came with the Frame,” “Down Below,” and Johnson’s stunning closer “All Your Own.”

Overseas only has a couple shows under its belt, but the quartet – all its members veterans of unique collaborations – proved a supremely tight band playing to each musician’s strengths. If another new album does emerge, it will likely become another notable accomplishment chalked up to four standout artists.

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