Sarah Grain and the Billions of Stars at the Catacombs, September 9th.
September 9th was an interesting day. I spent most of the day training for an acting job, and I didn’t arrive in Indianapolis until about 9pm. Earlier that day, my friend Doug informed me his band Sarah Grain and the Billions of Stars was performing their album release show for their new album Something Wild at the City Market Catacombs that evening. They weren’t supposed to start playing until around 8, but he figured they would be done by 9 or 9:30 and there would be no way I would catch their show.
Doug is a pleasantly skilled guitarist.
I’m a pretty determined individual, so when I arrived back at 9:00, I hastily rushed to the Catacombs with all my gear, hoping they were still playing since Doug wasn’t answering my text messages.
I parked behind the venue next to the entrance and asked the door guy where the show was; he directed me down the stairs. When I arrived at the bottom of the stairs, I went through a very empty dusty space before arriving in the main room which was full to the back with people both sitting in chairs and standing around. There was a large merch table with copies of the new record all around it as well.
I rushed to the front thinking they might be about done, but it was clear within a few minutes that they got a super late start and weren’t even halfway through the set.
If you didn’t catch the article a couple months back about Sarah Grain and the Billions of Stars, they are a (usually) 5 piece group comprised of Sarah Grain on lead vocals and guitar, Mina Keohane on keys and backup vocals, Doug Sauter on guitar, Nate Gray on bass and Ryan Koch on drums. Often there are cameos from other musicians for different songs, such as Mark Ortwein who plays the saxophone. They’ve got a beautiful folk/jazz mix sound, with their own unique spin on everything. I really love how this band fully transcends it’s genres and created something completely unique to the music world.
Sarah Grain and the Billions of Stars- Sarah, Doug, Nate, Mina and Ryan in the very back.
The sound was amazing. I had obviously seen them previously (twice before in fact) but this time their sound seemed to come through like never before. The amount of people packed into the place also really made me happy because I couldn’t see the band for the crowd before I got to the front, and when I was behind the band snapping photos, I couldn’t see the back of the room or the entrance to it.
Nate is always in the zone with his bass playing.
The biggest drawback in the venue is the dust. It’s so full of dust that I was coughing a lot and my clothes slowly got covered in a light dust film. Still worth it, though. The experience was amazing. There were a couple other photographers there and also someone filming the entire event.
I loved their entire set. I took pictures for the whole rest of the show and then once it ended, a DJ came on and started a dance party for those who remained. Most people piled out, but it was still a bit of a struggle to get through. I ended up helping them load out as well.
Sarah belting it out. She has such a passionate voice.
Everyone seemed so happy. The whole audience was attentive and into their set, which was beautiful to see. Early into my arrival Sarah invited Stephanie Renner up to the stage and thanked her publicly for creating her album design. Stephanie runs a screen printing business and has created numerous things such as t-shirts for bands, and album artwork, and has her own shop called Sele Apparel– you should probably check out her work. It was a beautiful moment. There was so much love and happiness in the air throughout the evening.
My favorite song that they played is called Garden. I love this song every time I hear it and it’s because of the fun downbeat, I believe. Her voice resonates and it’s so powerful in everything that they do. Everyone, of course, is fantastic at their instruments and it’s a beautiful collaboration. I have rarely seen women this into music that aren’t pop divas as well. It’s just all around such a beautiful experience. Please take a moment to at least listen to that song on their music page which has been linked here.
Mina shines blue as she sings along.
I feel that every time I hear Sarah Grain play, something about it strikes a chord in me. Her voice is so exceptionally powerful and present. Everyone is so completely into their instruments. It’s such a beautiful otherworldly experience that I highly recommend for anyone who loves music.
Ryan and Mina.
Go check out their album as well! They had it pressed on vinyl, which is really fun. The album again is called Something Wild. You can find it at Square Cat Vinyl in Indianapolis if you are so inclined!