Enation / FOH Lounge / Springfield, Mo

Confession: I excitedly bought tickets to the 6/20/15 Jonathan Jackson + Enation show at Front of House (part of downtown Springfield's Outland Complex) to see "Avery from Nashville."

Jackson is the one in the middle. With the fashionable man-scarf.

I now feel like a goon for thinking I would only enjoy the concert because Enation features an actor from a primetime drama I watch while I drink wine and cuddle with my dogs.

I started the evening in a sea of (mostly) women, snapping and tweeting pics before Jackson even played a note. The ceiling shook as the hardcore metal band Whitechapel played upstairs in the Outland Ballroom. Underneath that culture-clash freight train, a recorded intro played as Jackson said hello and looked around at the 30-35 people gathered in front of the stage. I felt kind of awkward, because I was right in his line of vision. Then the music started.

I am seriously blown away by this band. Especially Jackson's voice. He can rock out, belt, give a piercing scream, and smoothly offer up a falsetto. All in the same song.

Crappy iPhone concert pic #1

My immediate impression of  Enation: Mayfield Four, if Mayfield Four were from Nashville instead of Washington state. Then, Jackson mentioned he is from Washington. I will now argue my comparison is legit, and not a product of my tendency to sneak a Myles Kennedy reference into any conversation.

This review of a recent Enation show in Nashville compares the band's sound to U2, Muse, Foo Fighters, and Kings of Leon. I agree with all of these--except I don't really hear Foo Fighters. I would throw in Thirty Seconds to Mars as well.

The Springfield set mostly included songs from Enation's latest album, Radio Cinematic. (Which I bought and asked Jackson to sign, because I am Queen Dork) Jackson plays guitar and sings, while his brother Richard Lee Jackson handles drums. Daniel Sweatt carries the burden of being a bass player in a 3-piece band very well, filling out the sound while keeping a groove going.

Several REM covers, as well as a "journey" through some of the bands' influences--covering U2, Radiohead, and Pearl Jam--broke up the original tunes.

"Cinematic" closed the evening. This song is so good. Very sexy. Love it.

I was not expecting Enation to rock as hard as they did. I was definitely not expecting to become a fan, as synthy, indie rock/pop isn't really my thing. But there's just enough early 2000's alternative in the music to keep me interested.

The trio totally launched into some super-energetic jams throughout the evening. I was never bored. Jackson is a big reason for this. He attacks each song with so much passion. Feeling what he's singing. I couldn't look away. Enation plays like they have something to prove.

Crappy iPhone concert pic #2

They likely do. Mike and I were standing in front of the venue when the guys got out of their van, and a girl yelled,"Hey, Avery!" According to Enation's bio, Jackson started playing music with his band mates 15 years ago...long before he was playing Juliette Barnes' love interest. Radio Cinematic is Enation's fourth album. Their first was released in 2004. This band is obviously something these guys take very seriously, not just a side project Jackson formed because he's on a music-centric TV show.

If you're curious about Enation's recorded music, you can preview Radio Cinematic here. The album is more piano driven than the guitar rock displayed in their live show. The songs still sound strong. The lyrics explore themes of love (good, bad, desperation) and being young. "A Far Away Reality" is beautifully written, thought provoking song.

Standout tracks for me: "Cinematic," the rock-flavored "Kicked in the Head," "Things You've Never Seen," and "I See God in You." I also really dig the 80's pop-tinged "Even the Flames Are Love."

I leave you with the picture Mike took of Jonathan and I. Jackson managed this lovely smile, even though he seemed quite shy as I told him how much I dig his music and his singing.

Way to make things weird, Carrie.
The whole world is lit, we're cinematic.
Mrs. W.