Maybe it was the cumulative good vibes of umpteen birthday wishes, the auspicious gravitas of the number seven or the full moon—whatever the reason, anyone who saw the Silent 7Sevens play a collective B-day bash last Friday at Egos left feeling lucky.
I knew nothing about the 7Sevens except, “It’s the keyboard player from [one-time local favorites] the Trigger Locks.” Still, I’ve found some of my favorite bands with less information and something told me I should ask El Jefe Frost to allow me to review these guys. I don’t know if he picked up on the same crazy vibe, but he said OK. I’ll have to remember to thank him later.
“I’m in the band,” Jamison Wilkins (J.W. Blackout, Fifi Murmur) told me when I asked him if he knew anything about the 7Sevens. He said he played drums for ’em, they’re mostly based in St. George, and I should talk to Sean Taylor, the singer/keyboardist. He craned his neck looking for Taylor, finally finding him in a dark corner of the stage. “He’s playing with [the Motherless Cowboys].”
The hirsute Taylor sat nearly expressionless as he flowed sweet tones into MoCo’s songs. I’d heard secondhand that his work with the Trigger Locks was awesome; I nonetheless wondered if the Silent 7Sevens would really be all that good. Sometimes a new local band is simply fresh—they’re rarely great. We do have some great stuff in town, but when you find one of those bands whose music you’d actually pay to hear, not just because they’re homegrown and bear a passing resemblance to something already in your CD collection, that’s something.
So MoCo vacates the stage and the 7Sevens begin setting up. Taylor moves his Hohner and Kurzweil keys front-and-center, sets up some mics. Wilkins settles in at the kit as J.W. Blackout guitarist Mike Sasitch, one guy with a Rickenbacker bass and another bearing an ostensibly homemade stringed contraption (looked like a banjo mated with a bedpan) tune up. Taylor plays a few buoyant, portentous notes and my spine shimmies—this is gonna be good, I think.
Back to local bands and the lack of great ones: What, exactly, makes a great band? The difference, in this writer’s humble opinion, always comes down to songwriting. Just like you can put a bunch of monkeys in a room with typewriters and bank on ’em cranking out the complete works of Shakespeare, you can put a bunch of capable musicians—monkeys all!—on a stage and they’ll pound out something tolerable. On a rare night, utterly inspiring.
This Taylor guy has inspiring songs out the wazoo. You knew the style two bars into whatever the first song was called. It was brisk bar-pop from a piano man with a worn but resilient soul, a cocktail of dulcet melodies, sing-songy (but snarling) guitar, bouncing bass and piano, happy drums and sneaky-unique sounds from whatever that stringed thingy was (I learn later it’s called a “Wanky,” and Taylor built it).
Above it all, Taylor sang in a voice that could be the Old 97s’ Rhett Miller aping Billy Joel. What he said wasn’t always clear (I picked out one lyric the whole night: “Hit the tracks/ You won’t look back/ Until you’re a real hitchhiker”), but it was evident from the joyous reactions of the jubilant crowd that clarity wasn’t essential to getting the message—which, like the point of most good music, is to dig life even when it sucks. People hooted and danced in the throes of joy, then the 45-minute set ended all too soon.
Taylor consoled the crowd with a promise they haven’t seen the last of the Silent 7Sevens. “We’ve been playing a lot of places,” he said. “So look in places for the Silent 7Sevens.”
By all means, keep an eye out. The 7Sevens are something special.