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editor's note
Two Gallants
June 1, 2006 Ė Neumoís Ė Seattle, WA
by Ashley Graham

Itís halfway through Two Gallantsí set and Tyson Vogel is hunched over the drums, his midsection heaving trying to catch a breath. His long hair is already drenched; itís all over the place and all over his face. Heís just assaulted his set. Not assaulted in the sense the term would be used by some metalhead in the eighties to describe lame asses like Tommy Lee, but assaulted as in there is literally no other word for the fucking intensity that Vogel brings to his position.

He catches his breath. He breathes something indecipherable heavily into his microphone. Vogelís so into it that he makes you wish you could be anywhere near as excited as he is. Youíre excited, but youíre not living this like he is. He replaces one of his drumsticks with a tambourine and starts playing the next song using it in its place. What? Yeah.

In every moment, his passion is matched by his other half, Adam Stephens, vocalist and guitarist. Stephens is growly and crackly. His spoken words between songs donít make sense either, but it doesnít matter. Everything about this is too good for the banter to make a difference.

The music, oh the music, but also the connection between these two performers. Stephens and Vogel have known each other since they were little boys, theyíve been playing together since shortly thereafter, and itís obvious. Stephens gives a look, Vogel gives a nod, communication has occurred. And sometimes there isnít even a gesture. If Stephens misses a beat, Vogel seems to have known in advance and adjusted. Thereís an unspoken understanding of one another between the two guys, and the stage presence thrives on it.

About this time the drummer from one of the three opening bands comes to the side of the stage to pack up his gear. Heís bobbing his head while Two Gallants continue to plow through their tough, life-on-the-other-side-of-the-tracks blues rock, and you have to wonder if he really gets it. Does he know how much greater this is than he is or will ever be? I missed his band, but I donít give a shit.

Two Gallants is one of the best live shows Iíve ever seen. Last week I saw another of these, The Thermals, and while clearly thereís little resemblance between the two bands sound-wise, the intensity and ferocity they bring to the stage shares similar characteristics. Itís a no-nonsense, nose-to-the-grindstone mentality, and it works so well for both of these bands and mostly makes them who they are. The albums are great, but the live show is where theyíll hook you and start invading your every thought.