How I Found My New Favorite Band (July Talk at Soda Bar)

July Talk

I was introduced to July Talk around a year and change ago by my bandmates. I was shown some of their documentary-style videos of traveling and show footage, where Peter and Leah are crawling all over each other on stage. It was like nothing I’d ever seen, so raw and intimate. I enjoyed the music, hearing elements of some of my all-time favorite artists like Tom Waits and Queens of the Stone Age, but I hadn’t dug deep enough myself to form the emotional connection that makes a favorite band. Yet.

Fast forward to January 28th, 2017. It was one of those moments where you are invited last minute and almost don’t go, but end up making the decision to join your friends for a night out and it changes your life. I’ll note here that I am proudly and gratefully sober, just over 100 days at the time of the show, and now fully experience everything as I naturally receive it.

So there I am with my band at Soda Bar. I’m excited to see what all the fuss is about, as my bandmates have spoken highly of their live show having seen it once before. At this point, I am familiar with a couple of songs like “Paper Girl” and “Summer Dress” via their excellent music videos. July Talk has an incredibly sleek aesthetic, focusing on black and white which compliments the dichotomy of male and female energy in their music and message. They had posted signs all around the bar and outside the venue informing everybody of the open, loving and safe space for all people they create wherever they play. It’s a beautiful and very important thing in these times. I have a great deal of admiration and respect for them carrying that loving, open and accepting energy with them on their journey.

The crowd continued to thicken as the opening acts Little Junior and Mona kept the energy high and got the audience riled up for July Talk. Throughout the whole show, there was clearly an intimate level of camaraderie between the three bands, everybody giving shout outs to everybody, extending from the show to all of the social media surrounding the tour. By the time the openers had finished playing, the whole bar was packed to the brim, shoulder to shoulder, stomach to back.  

July Talk takes the stage. Wasting no time, Peter yells a greeting, the crowd reciprocating, as Danny Miles begins stomping out the infectious beat for “Picturing Love”, which has become one of my absolute favorite songs. Peter joined the drums on keys and vocals as Leah faced away from the crowd, moving to the beat, creating anticipation for her to turn around and address the crowd. As the verse built, so did my excitement and when the chorus exploded Leah turned to the crowd and the final connection of audience to band was made. It was a powerful moment. I had never heard this song before. Now I listen to it on repeat most days. I couldn’t wait for each new part, and that was really the feeling I had the whole show: “What is next?!”

Soda Bar is not the largest venue, but the size of July Talk’s presence on that stage was huge. The whole show was enthralling. Even the lower, softer points of the show had an intensity to the energy. It was such a raw, human performance, while still being airtight musically. The bass and drums were locked in perfect groove, which as a drummer myself is something I keep a close eye on. I greatly appreciate how in the pocket the rhythm section was.  You could dance your heart out or just stare in awe at any member, remaining captivated at any given moment. One of the most endearing parts of the show is how Peter and Leah play with each other on stage, touching, teasing and toying using hands and microphones. At one point Peter hung his microphone over Leah’s head as she sang and she played with it like a kitten swiping at yarn. It seemed so honest. A love for what they do is so apparent, and I can’t speak enough about how humble and human they were. They commanded the front of the stage, his whispering and roaring and her glassy, sassy voice making perfect counterparts, complementing each other like black and white. As their label’s website says so accurately “July Talkʻs Beauty and the Beast aesthetic burns a little going down, but is sure to warm your belly and have you coming back for more.”  I’ll certainly be back for more, and to be quite honest I am hoping it will be my band sharing the stage with them that time.


Find them online…