poor bailey
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poor bailey

Band Alternative Folk


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The best kept secret in music



Let's just get this out of the way: This column is not a memoir.

It may be based on some true stories, but I'll have to run that by my editor -- and Oprah -- before we can say for sure.

I can say that one of the best entertainment opportunities of the weekend is trying to catch anything having to do with Poor Bailey. They're easily one of the best bands coming up in the East Bay.

We'd say best, but to say something so definitive is risky. I'll check with Oprah's people and get back to you.

First off, Poor Bailey singer Scott Vicknair will play an acoustic set Friday at Roundtree's in Berkeley (2618 San Pablo Ave., 510-663-0440), with Tim Gorman and Parallel View, and Gold. The show starts at 9 p.m.

Then, for the seven or eight of you who can afford the gas, Poor Bailey plays Junta (710 K St.) in Sacramento on Saturday night, with Victorian, Sholl, the Prix and Mister Vague. One of those bands is from L.A., so they must be good.

Then, Poor Bailey will appear on Live 105's (KITS-FM 105.3) "Soundcheck" with Aaron Axelsen between 7 and 10 p.m. Sunday night. Aaron is a really good guy, but he's completely messed up my chance to claim Poor Bailey as my discovery next time Live 105 lets me come in with some local music.

Which, come to think of it, they don't invite me to do any more.

Actually, Poor Bailey won a Live 105 band competition a couple of years back, at which one of the judges was one Aaron Axelsen. Whatever. If they make it big, we'll leave it to the lawyers.

Now that we've got all that information out of the way, you're probably saying to yourself, "Hey Tony, thanks for all those great updates on what Poor Bailey is doing this weekend. We really appreciate you helping us coordinate our weekend schedule with the comings and goings of Poor Bailey. It's always good to plan ahead when you're thinking about checking out Poor Bailey.

"By the way, who is Poor Bailey?"

Glad you asked. Poor Bailey is four guys from East Contra Costa who have been at it for a couple of years, after being in bands like Overwhelming Colorfast, Terminous, Alexia and Womack.

They manage to sound like so many great bands, yet sound like no one at the same time. They can go creaky acoustic, with Vicknair sounding like a strung-out, emotionally troubled hobo who happens to have a great sense of melody.

Or they can sound like an early '80s English band playing those big, rich George Harrison Rickenbacker guitars (though I can't say with any certainty that they play Rickenbacker, since I'm only a drummer, not a real musician). Or they can sound like a semi-experimental up-to-date rock band that can take a song just about anywhere they please. Or they can just play straight-ahead guitar rock with choruses that are so catchy, it's silly.

The best thing about Poor Bailey is that they're not boring, something that can't be said for 90 percent of new bands that come across my desk. They're not trying to be anyone else, and that's nice. The songwriting is a bit more streamlined and accessible on last year's four-song, self-released "The House Is a Headstone" (available at Tower, Amoeba, Rasputin, Mod Lange and Antioch's own Rock Bottom) than their previous CD, "Two Points Off the Weather Bow."

They're one of those bands that, just when you decide on your favorite song on their disc, you listen again and choose something else. All four songs on "The House Is a Headstone" are very good. They pay attention to arrangement and balance power, groove and quirk, as well as styles.

The band has had a few sniffs from labels, but nothing concrete, says bassist John Snapp. "We're working on new songs and we may start recording soon. For a while, all we were doing was sending out the (most recent) EP. We got tired of waiting around for something to happen, so we're doing it ourselves."

Learn more about Poor Bailey at www.poorbailey.com.

- Contra Costa Times

...Poor Bailey are currently working on a double album to be released at 3rd November. The new record is going to be called "Pyrite & Gold" and it should have around 20 songs on it. There is a huge CD release show scheduled for 3rd Novemeber at Bottom Of The Hill at San Francisco.

Poor Bailey creates very catchy indie rock music that will grab you after the first listening. The songs are melodic and well-crafted. Listening to Poor Bailey, you may feel that you've heard this guys on a local radio station a number of times before. On the other hand, they sound original and fresh, combining different genres in their songs, from country-like (20 Drugs) to post grunge and punk-pop (Common Cold, Time Well Wasted). Some of the highlights are noisy Gateway To The Delta and acoustic Oxy Moron.

Poor Bailey brings an excellent rock music to enjoy from the first to the last song, it's a band for the big things. Recommended!
- Indie Surfer Blog

Here's a band from San Francisco sounding very much like a British indie band, only less intense perhaps, a little like the Arctic Monkeys without the rough edges and with more melody and better guitar play. Poor Bailey's first double single Time Well Wasted and A Common Cold are two stonking tracks which can be heard at the site together with more cracking samples. John Snapp on bass, Scott Vicknair on vocals, Travis Harris on guitar and keys, and Danny Casentini on drums, this is Poor Bailey... and when John Snapp's name is mentioned I tend to think of crackle and pop... Right now the band is in the middle of producing their debut album entitled Pyrite and Gold, and here are two demos from the forthcoming production. Like it. - They Tell Us that We Lost Our Tails

...The second band of the night was the cleaned out, almost folk music style of Poor Bailey who brought a really mellow style to the stage. There was something so very "punk" about this set, yet the band used nothing even remotely close to punk music. - Zero Magazine


2003 "Two Points Off The Weather Bow LP
2005 "The House is a Headstone EP
2006 "Pyrite and Gold double disc
We have had constant rotation on Live 105 (KITS 105.3 fm in the Bay Area)


Feeling a bit camera shy


Poor Bailey began as a homemade solo project in late 2002, but quickly transformed into a four piece indie rock band and emerged onto the Bay Area music scene. In 2003 the band self released their first record, Two Points Off the Weather Bow and was voted “Best Emerging Artist” at the prestigious California Music Awards. Poor Bailey also found themselves at the center of a thriving music scene, playing shows at San Francisco’s premier venues including Slims, Cafe Du Nord, The Independent and Bottom of the Hill.
Heading back into the studio the following year, Poor Bailey released a few demos, including the song “A Common Cold”, which received consistent airplay on San Francisco based alternative radio station, Live 105 FM. Live 105 went on to offer Poor Bailey the opening slot at 2004’s “Not So Silent Night” holiday show at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, where they played alongside bands including The Killers, Modest Mouse, Interpol, Franz Ferdinand, Muse and Taking Back Sunday. The station’s support has continued throughout Poor Bailey’s career, with continued airplay and guest spots performing on Soundcheck with Aaron Axelson, a popular weekly show.
2005 brought the next Poor Bailey release, The House is a Headstone EP as a precursor to their next LP. Songs from this recording entered constant rotation on local radio stations and countless podcasts on the world wide web. Critics were also lavish with their praise, as seen in these excerpts from music writer Tony Hicks’ review in the Contra Costa Times:
"...They manage to sound like so many great bands, yet sound like no one at the same time. They can go creaky acoustic…or they can sound like an early '80s English band…or they can sound like a semi-experimental up-to-date rock band that can take a song just about anywhere they please…or they can just play straight-ahead guitar rock with choruses that are so catchy, it's silly. They pay attention to arrangement and balance power, groove and quirk, as well as styles..."
Poor Bailey spent most of 2006 writing and preparing their next full length record, drawing from a number of influences and inspirations and thinking outside their normal songwriting formula. The band turned to violinist/keyboard player Anton Patzner, a frequent contributor to local bands, including Audrye Sessions and Street To Nowhere, as well as major-label acts like Bright Eyes and The Faint, to add a new dimension of beauty and ethereal sound in Poor Bailey’s music. The result is the long awaited, double record Pyrite & Gold, which was released at a sold-out show at Bottom of the Hill in November of 2006. Poor Bailey toured the southwest with friends Audrye Sessions all of March 2007 playing most notably Noise Pop and SXSW. Summer shows were highlighted by an appearance at Live 105's BFD. Poor Bailey has plans of working on another record and staying local for the rest of 2007.