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Preach it, brother Daniel

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Daniel James of Leopold and His Fiction converted the crowd at The Bunkhouse to their new revival style tunes.
Photo: Allison Duck

As the minute hand joined the hour hand signaling it was officially Sunday, the crowd at The Bunkhouse got a dose of the Gospel, the Gospel according to Leopold & His Fiction. The San Francisco trio who made a big splash at last spring’s Neon Reverb Festival was back with a fresh set list reminiscent of a bluesy church revival. Adding to the Sunday school vibe was one front row fan clad in white blousy garments akin to a priest’s cassock.

The bevy of fans who likely attended some of the band’s Aruba, Bunkhouse or Beauty Bar shows over the summer might have expected old favorites from the group’s first few albums, but were in for a surprise. Ironically, one of the few familiar tunes was “Ain’t No Surprise,” nestled amid a set list of mostly new music.

Leopold & His Fiction @ The Bunkhouse Saloon

Some people are afraid of the unfamiliar, especially when it comes to favorite bands putting out new tunes. Of course, you want to hear new, creative sounds from a band, but the songs you heard when you first fell in love with a group are comfortable like a worn-in pair of jeans. Sometimes it’s difficult to transition into a stiff new pair.

Luckily for Leopold and His Fiction fans, the group’s new music was solid and refreshing. A classic dark washed bootcut, if you will. Many of the tracks debuted last night will be on the band’s forthcoming album, slated for a January 2010 release. In a slight departure from their bluesy garage rock sound, the Bunkhouse crowd heard songs with Gospel overtones such as the set closers, “Virginia” and “Lion’s Share.”

Lead singer Daniel James preached the new lyrics self-assuredly. Bassist Micayla Grace said, “Most of the songs tonight have only been played live two or three times.” Much like a good preacher, James and the band convinced the congregation to embrace the new sounds with open arms.

Grace went on to add, “A month long tour is just what we need. We’re trying to integrate our new songs in with our old ones.” Leopold and His Fiction will be setting off on this tour in December, stopping off at 30 venues in 30 days on their way to and from Nashville where this new revival-style sound should fit right in.

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