The River Monks with Dubb Nubb, The Multiple Cat and Devin Frank
Friday, 8 p.m., $5
The River Monks believe music should be fun to play and to experience. For them, that means having all band members sing and swap instruments during their performances.
But for audience members, the group’s antics and role changes might make it difficult to figure out who the lead singer is.
“When we first got together, there were just three of us, and we were listening to a lot of music that used vocal harmony,” says frontman Ryan Stier. “Everyone we’ve added to the band can sing, so it just kind of felt natural to explore how many voices we could use and what kind of chords we could create through that.”
The band, formed in 2010, returns to Cafe Berlin on tour promoting their second studio album, Home is the House, which was released in May. Stier says the new album focuses on what the idea of home means to each of the band’s six members.
Stier describes the sound of the band as wistful, harmonious megafolk. He says the style speaks to both The River Monks’ folk roots and the group’s growth beyond those roots.
Although the band is excited about the new album, members say listening to it does not compare to experiencing their harmonies and wide range live. Stier says the band focuses on creating dynamic performances, with some songs incorporating big and bombastic elements and others nearly whispered.
“We try to make each set a new experience every time,” says Tommy Boynton, who joined the band in 2012. “There’s always this really exciting edge of creating chamber music as opposed to just playing some songs we know. Before I joined the band, I really cherished their ability to captivate a room and create a masonic experience.”