Jeffrey Gaines, Tim Wilsbach
Friday, Feb. 11
As soon as Jeffrey Gaines takes the stage, he makes you want to watch him. The way he moves, the effortless strength and soul in his voice points to one thing; Gaines is a star. He does, however, have a choice to make: continue on the same path of maintaining his devout following as a singer/songwriter, or do what he knows he should - break the adult contemporary cycle and rock.
Hiding under the surface is that he's trapped by the first 15 years of his career. Watching and listening to Gaines' performance last Friday at Birdy's made it clear that he is better suited to being Lenny Kravitz or Ben Harper than his current gig as the sincere, but obliged troubadour.
Performing solo acoustic, Gaines played songs spanning his career including "Hero in Me," "Over and Over" and "Falling Apart." The 75 minute-plus set also included Sam Cooke's "A Change Is Gonna Come" and the cover song that he is famous for, "In Your Eyes" by Peter Gabriel, which he performs as if it were his own. From the stage, he joked about the song's immense popularity in the 3 a.m. slot on the VH1 show Insomniac Music Theater.
Tim Wilsbach of local rock band Pale opened the show, establishing the solo man with a guitar theme of the evening. Wilsbach, formerly of Paging Raymond, a band that in recent years was a popular favorite in Indy, is a personality you often see out attending and supporting shows so often that it's easy to forget that he himself is such a strong songwriter and performer. With distinctive melodies, and a surprisingly powerful voice, Wilsbach's songs feel complete within his performance, despite the absence of drums, bass and another guitar.