I got to see live music for the first time in over a year and I think my soul left my body. COVID restrictions aside (you can’t “open this pit up” from taped off seating sections…) it was an incredible show for more than just the thrill of live music alone. I snagged a barstool at Skully’s Music Diner in Columbus Ohio to check out a set by Davey Crockett’s Ghost. The group is currently composed of Jake Vogel and Gabe Gaudoin-Perry. The temporary two piece is part of an artist collective right here in the heart of Ohio all under the label Zeulympus Entertainment founded by Sarah Imani and active artist Zeus Da Don. The eight artists on the label collaborate and mix their distinct genres and style to produce incredible music that they should all be truly proud of. All the artists are set to release music in the coming year and I’m excited to hear it all.
Davey Crockett’s Ghost was a project started by Vogel in 2019, while Gaudoin-Perry joined in December 2020 on lead guitar. Both members are incredibly talented, having dedicated most of their lives and basically all of their quarantine to practicing their craft. Where the band is lacking in a drummer currently, they make up for in skillful guitar and passionate lyrics. The duo is searching for a drummer to take the place of the electronic drum kit they are currently toting. The show was exciting for more than just a feeling of normalcy; it was also a celebration of the release of the bands new album Excalibur now streaming on all platforms.
The set was short, kicked off with a quick joke before opening up with a song called “Old Ghost” from Vogel’s previous group Unseen Keys. The song is unfortunately not streaming but I surely hope he chooses to roll it over into his new endeavor. The song was catchy and fun, but as I know I’ve said before I absolutely loathe off beat, crowd lead, rhythmic clapping and of course this song got the treatment. The next few songs were selections off the new album and I was blown away by the pure talent on stage tonight. “Guinevere” leads with the lyrics “dressed in black/ head to toe” so I automatically knew I was going to love it. I adore the references the song makes to Arthurian lore; I found myself quickly singing along to the chorus of “I’m no Arthur but would you be my Guinevere?/ You want the world, you want the moon/ it’ll be my quest to get them for you, my dear/ but I'm not as strong as Lancelot/ I’ll do what it takes to win your heart, I swear.” They followed with “Oh so Sweet,” a soft song full of emotion alluding to Vogel’s youth spent growing up in Florida. “Do You Wanna Be Mine” got the audience moving, and the duo’s stage presence kept them engaged. Vogel is a natural to the stage, and Gaudoin-Perry looked right at home as well, though he told me after their set that he’d never performed on stage in that capacity before, only some theater and the like in school. Vogel has a gritty, soulful quality to his voice that infuses his lyrics with raw emotion, and Goudoin-Perry plays guitar like he was born with one in his hands.
The last half of their set truly floored me; it was packed with some of the best homebrewed tunes i’ve heard in awhile. “Rather Be Alone” is a song i’m sure i’ll find myself listening to over and over (i’ve already added it to my Songs About Me playlist…). It saw Zeulympus Ent.’s The 5th Element join the band on the stage, but don’t mistake her for a backup singer! Her vocals mingled with Vogel’s and carried their own passion up to the rafters. She absolutely crushed her performance as the protagonist of the song and gives the song a well rounded sound. “Revolution” is a heartbreaking, emotionally fueled ballad centered around the never ending battle for racial justice our country is facing. Utilizing not just Davey Crockett’s Ghost and The 5th Element, but also including Zeus Da Don herself, the haunting song blends spoken word poetry, alternative rock, and hip hop all in one moving anthem. The emotional labor it takes to dream up content like this and put it out into the world must be all worth it to have others yell it right back at you. The song is a call to action, a call for justice that we’ve been screaming our throats bloody for, punctuated by a marching snare and The 5th Element’s ringing notes crying out over Vogel’s soulful baritone. The entire audience was on their feet for this one, and rightfully so. Zeus Da Don’s verse moved me to tears; “I should be scared/ should start a riot/ my people fallin’/ why are they dyin’?/ there is no patience/ where is the tolerance?/ I can’t be fake/ they don't have common sense/ they say we’re a menace to the society/ meanwhile were stuck, starving in poverty/ I should be scared/ should start a riot/ this is me angry/ maybe I’ll cause a scene/ what should I say to all the kids/ that they’ll be killed because of their skin?/ I am not scared/ I’ll start a riot/ here’s what they fear/ Black Lives Matter.” The song comes to a close with the most powerful “united we stand and united we’ll fall” I’ve ever heard. After their heavy hitter, the boys rounded out their set with a fun rendition of “What’s New Scooby Doo” that I enjoyed immensely.
Excalibur cannot accurately be summed up by just the songs they sampled during their set tonight. Some other favorites of mine include “When You Break” and the title track “Excalibur.” I look forward to an expansion of the band that will allow Vogel to showcase his piano skills. The album is a labor of love and it shows; I can’t wait to see where this journey takes them.