REVIEW: Southeast Engine at Casa Cantina

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Dayton, Ohio, was well-represented at Casa Cantina on Thursday, Sept. 20, with excellent performances by Southeast Engine and openers Tim Pritchard and the Boxcar Suite.

Pritchard and his band released their CD debut, It Shall Be Revealed, earlier this year. The album is a folked-out, rocked-out exploration of the alternative country genre.

The crowd wasn’t huge Thursday night, but Pritchard and cohorts delivered nonetheless, with songs like “If She’s Gonna Bend” holding the audience's attention.

The group played through much of the album's material, which fit perfectly with Southeast Engine's indie-tinged folk-rock aesthetic.

Anyone who has seen Southeast Engine knows one thing: The band's live show is an incredible thing to behold.

After a fair amount of cheerful stage banter, the band launched into their set with songs from 2011's Canary.

"Well," said frontman Adam Remnant to an intently watching audience, "Let’s start out with 'Cold Front Blues.'"

The band effortlessly moved through prime pickings from their most recent full-length, including "At Least We Have Each Other" and the gorgeous "Red Lake Shore," which had the audience happily singing along.

One of the highlights of any Southeast Engine show is their choice of covers. The band proudly hails from Dayton, Ohio, home of indie-rock legends Guided by Voices.

The group treated the crowd to a few classic GBV tunes, including "Tractor Rape Chain" and an intimate rendition of "The Goldheart Moutaintop Queen Directory."

One of the best moments of the night came when bassist Jesse Remnant broke into GBV's "A Salty Salute" after assuring his bandmates that "Yes, we know this song."

Throughout the set, the band delved into its own discography, pulling out songs that provided the initial spark for many fans, such as the wonderfully wiry "Black Gold" and the mighty power-pop tune "Taking the Fall."

The evening was a kickoff to Southeast Engine's fall tour, which will take the band through Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania, before heading north to New York and New England.

Athens fans who missed the Casa show will have another chance to see the group this Friday, Sept. 28, during the Stuart's Opera House Free Summer Concert Series. Video of the show will be posted this weekend on www.woub.org/arts.

Photos by Abigail S. Fisher