By Emily Robertson
Ivan and Alyosha’s performance on Monday night at Valley Bar was, in a word, energetic. Concert-goers expecting a more mellow, intimate experience—indicative of the band’s first release—may have been surprised by such a full-bodied, uptempo performance. The Seattle-based group only included one fully acoustic song during their hour-and-a-half long set, instead showcasing tunes from their most recent release, It’s All Just Pretend.
I&A was supported by fellow Seattleite Kris Orlowski. Joined by Torry Anderson on harmonies, the two created a rich, vibrant sound with only a single guitar and their voices. Though solo singer-songwriters can often be a somewhat dull opening act, the melodies of Orlowski’s music rang out in the basement venue, captivating and engaging the audience.
The break between acts offered everyone a chance to grab a drink and have a look around the Downtown Phoenix venue. This event marked my first show at the newly opened Valley Bar, which is carefully hidden in a dark alley, making one feel a sense of exclusivity. Oh and, Monday night is FREE game night, which means only one thing to me—many games of skeeball between sets.
The headlining act took the stage and immediately lifted the atmosphere up a notch. In contrast to the airy, open sound of Kris Orlowski, I&A’s music was very much in your face. Frankly, it was a bit of a hot mess at first while the sound technicians adjusted to the sharp rise in levels.
Lead singer, Tim Wilson, seemed extremely comfortable in front of the crowd, offering personal anecdotes and quick-witted jokes. At one point he humorously compared the gate separating the Over-21 and Under-21 sections to El Paso and El Juarez. One older patron shouted, “We’ve got more money!” as another added, “And beer too!”
The set flowed on with a nice cadence. I think there was an encore, but it was hard to distinguish when it happened, because the band never actually left the stage. Instead, they continued on and on as the time-space continuum apparently glitched; Matrix-style.
One thing that was most apparent from the show was how much Ivan & Alyosha loves to perform. That fact was made obvious by their charismatic stage presence. They also mentioned that their favorite part of each show is meeting their fans, asking the crowd to please stop by the merch booth, “if [they] wouldn’t mind.” It is safe to assume that they stayed at the bar and chatted with fans long after their set ended.
Below you can find the full setlist, which included favorites like, “Easy To Love” and “Be Your Man,” as well as many of their newer tracks.
Something is Wrong
Bury Me Deep
Fathers Be Kind
Easy to Love - All The Times We Had version with accompanying slide guitar from Tim Kim, rather than whistling.
Come Rain, Come Shine
Don’t Wanna Die Anymore
All This Wandering Around
Tears in Your Eyes - Before which Tim Wilson added, “We’re gonna go all Celine Dion on you here.”
Oh This Love
I’m Not Fooling Anyone - Bonus track from It’s All Just Pretend
Running For Cover
It’s All Just Pretend
This may have been when the encore began...
Don’t Lose Your Love - Only fully acoustic song played throughout set.
Let Me Go East - The only song “they” let Tim W. play bass on—his words, not mine.
Be Your Man