WEB EXCLUSIVE: Eisley’s harmony-laden folk rock packs the Grog Shop


The Grog Shop is notoriously known for smaller shows with intimate settings. Rarely does the Grog fill itself to maximum capacity – but it came pretty close to doing so at the Eisley show last Sunday.

Four of Eisley’s five members are related – vocalists Sherri and Stacy and guitarist Chauntelle all grew up together with brother Weston, who is featured on drums. Bass player Jon Wilson, the only member of the band without any bloodline connections, twanged on bass all night long.

Eisley’s sound can best be described as the 21st century version of the Cranberries, with a pinch of folksy-goodness mixed in for good measure. A surprising amount of males were in attendance at the concert, especially when considering Eisley’s predominantly female fan base.

Seeing Eisley’s two sisters harmonize on stage was quite an experience; the duo displayed aspects of a soprano choir at times. The sisters were both on point, especially when considering this was their first headlining tour.

Highlights of the show included “Memories,” featuring one of the best female-driven choruses in recent folk-rock memory. “Lost At Sea” was fairly solid, but lost some of its impact when seen live. Granted, the first time I was exposed to this song, it was to a poppier, dance-driven remix on the Urban Outfitters Tsunami Relief compilation, so hearing dead silence after Sherri crooned “green is set so beautifully / against your thoughtful face / that I must close my eyes” instead of a quick violin draw was slightly disappointing. “Trolley Wood” managed to get some crowd participation, with everybody snapping in unison with the percussion lines.

Despite a solid performance, you could tell this was Eisley’s first headlining tour. The girls seemed very pensive between songs, with sparse and tepid conversation carrying the dead air. Thankfully, this shyness didn’t always carry over into their performance.

Eisley’s stage presence was also fairly lacking. Stacy spent the entire concert sitting down in front of her keyboard, which is a big no-no during a live show. Aside from Jon swaying back and forth occasionally, there was nothing to keep your attention visually. Action and physical passion were missing from Eisley.

Chauntelle was forced to deal with a few drunken crowd members screaming at the band, but she did so with little of the grace or humor that you often see in this sort of situation. I was actually embarrassed for Chauntelle – of all the band members, she looked the most awkward and uncomfortable on stage.

In the end, what we have here is a very nervous band that still manages to deliver a fairly solid performance. Aside from spectacular vocal blending among the sisters at times, nothing Eisley did was incredibly jaw-dropping. Eisley is a band that’s definitely going places, but they need to develop a stage presence and bolster their confidence before they can progress to the next level. Fans of the genre would do well to pick up a copy of their first full-length album, Room Noises, but those with limited knowledge of the band may do better to wait for their next tour.

Contact general assignment reporter Ben Breier at [email protected].