By Shannon Neu, Staff Writer
Published in print Feb. 25, 2015
Musicians and fans gathered at the Blind Tiger last Friday evening to rock out and celebrate the release of Magpie Thief’s first EP. The EP Release Show was opened by musical acts Molly Miller, Laila Nur and Renee is a Zombie. Magpie Thief then performed an energetic set, including new songs featured on the EP.
Magpie Thief is a folk duo hailing from Greensboro. Its members, Emily Stewart and Matty Sheets, have been performing together in multiple capacities since 2010 and have been creating music as Magpie Thief since last October.
Recorded and produced by Randy Seals at On Pop of the World Studios, Magpie Thief’s new EP includes four songs that were mostly recorded live. The project overall took an impressively short amount of time because Emily and Matty were so eager to release their music and continue touring.
“It’s crazy, because every other project we’ve done like this, we take forever to do it,” Matty said, reflecting on the process behind creating the EP.
Emily and Matty have both been prominent musicians in Greensboro’s local music scene for quite some time, through projects they have done together as well as ones they’ve played in separately. Therefore, they both have developed insights regarding the city’s music scene.
“I feel like a lot is starting to happen surrounding On Pop of the World Studios where we just recorded. It’s really inspiring a lot of people to get their stuff down on a record and get it out and to travel more,” Emily mentioned.
“I don’t know how to say where it will go because it just seems to always change,” Matty added. “Right now there seems to be a good punk scene, with Totally Slow, Daddy Issues and Damn Frank and all of them. There are also a lot of singer-songwriters.”
Now that their EP is out, the band aspires to travel more and continue sharing their music with the world.
Molly Miller opened the EP Release Show with guitarist Ben Singer and bassist Chris Micca. Molly’s stunning voice, catchy melodies, and emotionally-charged lyrics drew the audience right in and set the stage for an incredible night of music.
The next to perform was Laila Nur, a musician who combines folk, funk, soul, rock and blues to create songs with revolutionary messages. Her music and lyrics were incredibly moving, as she touched on issues such as immigration, religion, racial discrimination and the degradation of women in music. Her entire set was boldly passionate and inspiring.
Renee is a Zombie played next. Renee’s one-woman performance included drums, guitar, accordion, flute, ukulele, glockenspiel, and a loop station. Her songs were formed by multiple musical layers that fit together to create beautiful harmonies, electrifying rhythms and overall excellent musicality.
Last but not least, Magpie Thief marked the occasion of their EP release by performing a highly enthusiastic set including older songs as well as new songs featured on the EP. They performed with an engaging stage presence and their instrumental and vocal skills complimented each other well. Various musical aspects of the performance made their set stand out, including different combinations of instruments (including guitar, banjo, kick drum, tambourine and harmonica), intriguing mixed meters and clever lyrics.
Overall, it was an exciting and excellent show that did a remarkable job of marking a significant milestone in the life of Magpie Thief.