House and Theory
Review By Jessamyn Cuneo
Every time I see Parker House and Theory, they look like they're having more fun. This is a band that definitely has their priorities straight; from the first song to the last, they make sure everyone is enjoying their set- mostly by enjoying it themselves. Between the lead harmonica, played by Andy Wesby, and the drummer who also sings, Marcos, the band successfully creates a sound unlike any other local band.
Last Wednesday, the group hit up Bill's Bar with an hour-long set that had the place packed in minutes. If you heard them from the street, the sounds of the drifting harmonica, jazzy drums, the crooning singer and jamming guitar would probably first have you thinking that the place was a whiskey bar, straight from the muddy banks of Alabama. The laid-back, loving-life atmosphere set by the band is not exactly easy to find in this city. Hearing Parker House in Boston is like hearing Bjork in Tennessee; quite out of place, but that makes it very refreshing.
To describe the sound, let me set the scene: Eric-Jon, the lead vocalist, is partial to performing barefoot and hopping around stage like a tree-frog. His vocals can range from a high-pitched falsetto that will send the faint-of-heart to the back of the room, to teeny-bopper-friendly (think Dispatch or Incubus), and finally, he can pull out his clear-and-sincere voice, which gets all the ladies to scream in enthusiasm. Sometimes, drummer Marcos will sing back-up, or even take the lead vocals for a song, all without missing a beat on his set. He is one of the most talented multi-taskers to grace Boston's music scene, and even manages to smile throughout the entire high-pressure situation.
Charismatic Carlos, lead guitarist, will make sure to crack the audience up at least once per show. He adds a few funny facial gestures to his playing, and you're suddenly curious as to whether he does stand-up at the Hong Kong on his off days. Colin Lewis plays the bass, keeping the rhythm solid, while hanging in the back, head down, with a little smile that makes you want to get to know him better.
The group switches it up in many ways. "Ja Me Voy" is sung mainly in Spanish, and pulls on the ole' heart strings with the memorable chorus that ends with, "Too much time that I gave and I lost to you." The song "I Like Sex" is both amusing and lively, with the opening line, "I like sex, and I know you do too." You're almost guaranteed to see Eric-Jon jump around for that one. And the group just put out a new EP with the song "November" that cools things down quite nicely as a closing song. The group also does an amazing cover of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" as well as "So Lonely" by the Police. When a band can pull these songs off without any butchering, you know you've found some talent.
All these stage-presences and styles combine to turn any venue into an entertaining arena. Whether they're playing at the Paradise or Harper's Ferry, Bill's Bar or many east-coast colleges or universities, their positive energy radiates from the speakers and convinces you to dance even if you hate dancing. The last time I saw them, I brought a friend who's in the music business, and after hearing the first three songs and watching the crowd going wild, he turned to me and asked, "Who's their manager?"