He’s My Brother She’s My Sister @ Redwood Bar

Surrounded by netting, ropes and nautical pictures of boats at sea, The Redwood Bar created the perfect intimate atmosphere for He’s My Brother She’s My Sister.  The crowd packed in nearly shoulder-to-shoulder and was already dancing at the beginning of the set.  The band consisted of four people: a stand-up bass man, a tap dancer and two singers multi-tasking between the kick drum and the tambourine.  By the end of their first song, “Straight Shooter,” the crowd was already smitten with their performance.  Cheers, claps, whistles and even calling out to the band members by name occurred perfectly with the end of every song.

The songs of He’s My Brother She’s My Sister were quick, sweet and uplifting—even the slow-paced numbers got bodies moving.  As the set progressed, Lauren Brown’s hair came down out of its bun and enhanced the mystifying tap dancing experience, giving more volume to her performance.  Oliwa, the stand-up bass man, was playing his first show with He’s My Brother She’s My Sister but one could hardly tell.  He didn’t miss a note, kept up with the other members and grooved to the songs as if a veteran member of the band.  Their fourth song, which Rachel Kolar called her favorite, was a cover of Rob Kolar’s other band, Lemon Sun.  “Touch the Lighting” was modified perfectly to fit the folk-y persona of He’s My Brother She’s My Sister.  Only relying on the unstable kickdrum that Rob was manipulating, the song was brought down to an acoustic level; with the addition of Rachel’s harmonies and the power of the stand up bass, the song turned out much more intimate and focused.
Lauren’s tapping drove their fifth song, “Clackin’ Heels”, and she even tapped a fantastic solo that made the crowd go wild.  In between songs, the banter of Rob and Rachel made them accessible and illustrated their comedic personalities.  Rachel spoke in funny accents and found silly ways to introduce every song.

The band revealed more of their unique ways in “Lazy Daze.”  In harmonies, Rachel stayed low while Rob went high, demonstrating their wide vocal ranges as well as a singing structure that is rare.  Furthermore, their fun way of starting the song off slow and gradually picking up the pace to the point of jumping while singing got the crowd involved and jumping along.  “This is the dance portion of the show,” Rob shouted to the crowd as they started “Tales That I Tell.”  “We want you guys to sing with us, will you sing with us?”  Rachel proceeded to instruct the crowd how to sing the chorus and got everyone to sing and dance along.

For “Same Old Ground,” another Lemon Sun cover, they called up a couple friends to help sing with them, creating an amiable and informal atmosphere that aided the song’s disposition.  Despite lacking a whole drumset and the electric instruments of Lemon Sun, they still brought all the passion and power that the song deserves.  The crowd sang along and the song became another great communal experience.  At the finish of their set, Rob excitedly told the crowd, “This show has been really fun!”  The crowd agreed and called for an encore which He’s My Brother She’s My Sister hardly hesitated to do.  Rob told the crowd that Rachel is just debuting the encore song and she encouraged the crowd to sing along because she didn’t know the words herself, telling everyone, “If you know the words, do sing along because I have a cheat sheet!”  Rob and Rachel get along quite well on stage, especially for being brother and sister. Yes, they are.  During their cover of “Train Of Love” by Johnny Cash, Rob was always watching Rachel with a hopeful and supporting stare as she occasionally glanced at her lyrics cheat sheet.  Rachel was very animated and danced along.  At the end, the crowd sent the band off in a roar of cheers and smiles, the show had a great friendly vibe that left a lingering positive feeling.

Britt Witt

Originally published by LARecord.com: HMBSMS / LA Record