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Audience captivated by Breathe Owl Breathe at first of two shows at The DAAC

Lead Micah Middaugh during "Swimming."

Lead Micah Middaugh during "Swimming." /Thomas Valdez

Underwriting support from:


Breathe Owl Breathe join the audience.

Breathe Owl Breathe join the audience. /Thomas Valdez

Andrea & Trevor of Breathe Owl Breathe.

Andrea & Trevor of Breathe Owl Breathe. /Thomas Valdez

Seeing Breathe Owl Breathe perform live is like being invited to watch your children hold a concert in your living room, only the beautiful music they hear in their heads actually comes to fruition.

They welcome you into their world of adventure and childlike amazement. At some point, you forget that these are adults telling stories about werewolves, princesses, dragons and safe swimming simply because it works. Breathe Owl Breathe manages to harness their chaotic and awkward energy into a show that leaves their audience feeling as if they were apart of the narrative laden songs all along.

Somewhere between Noah and The Whale and Karen O and The Kids lies Breathe Owl Breathe: acoustic guitar, cello, drums and keyboards bound together by indie folk rock melodies and sincere lyrics.

Lead Micah Middaugh strums or picks his way through the set on acoustic guitar or banjo. His vocals have that wavering vibrato quality but without any sign of weakness. Andrea Moreno-Beals juxtaposes Micah’s qualities by adding classic cello and backup vocals to the mix. Percussionist Trevor Hobbs does a fantastic job at the unenviable task of keeping up with Micah’s oft erratic onstage behavior.

Perhaps that is the quality that truly makes Breathe Owl Breathe stand out among their throng of peers in the indie folk music scene. Each member plays a role that is clearly defined but inexplicably harmonious. The musical gestalt of this nuclear family trio: Micah is the rambunctious child and lead, Andrea brings the nurturing mother-like quality of classic vocals and cello, and Trevor is the steady beat and anchor as the father.

Where some may roll their eyes at the thrift store props, fanny packs and ugly sweaters on stage, Breathe Owl Breathe is an undeniably charming band.

Even if between songs, Micah’s banter was often incomprehensible and full of long awkward pauses, the band manages to keep control of the room. Breathe Owl Breathe rounded out their performance by moving into the center of the audience at the Division Avenue Arts Collective (DAAC) to finish off the night with a singalong. Breathe Owl Breathe still had a second performance that evening at 10 p.m. at The DAAC but managed to bring along enough energy to make both performances a worthwhile experience.

If you have the chance to see Breathe Owl Breathe perform live I recommend you do so. They outshine many similar acts as genuine musical and performance artists all while being precocious kids on stage.

Opener: Jes Kramer, Michigan-based solo artist, opened for Breathe Owl Breathe for the 7 p.m. performance. At first, Jes begins to sound far too similar to the female half of The Moldy Peaches (Kimya Dawson) but quickly breaks through as an artist with immense musical breadth and depth. Her songs, like “Even When It Snows,” tell painfully personal stories underscored with a catchy, toe-tapping melody. Her lyrics ride the line between heady intellectual dialogue and vapid dance beats traditionally found in the synth pop genre. Jes Kramer’s talent and congeniality make her an artist to watch out for.

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Music sounding like music? At moments, it sounds like she's playing her voice like a flute.

 Very valid point. Her vocals were surprisingly experimental. She isn't afraid to screech or cry or make a noise that many artists would be too humiliated to do.

Hats off to Tommy for writing a review that reads like an actual review, and not a catalog of who or what was there. 

 Thanks Seth. That means a lot.


nice work T--well written, thorough. so glad i went.

 Hey, thanks Austin. Were you there for the 7pm or 10pm concert? Or I should be asking were you coming or going when I saw you that night?