Concert review: Henry the Archer at Shipping & Receiving

Henry the Archer

Saturday, Jan. 18

Shipping & Receiving

201 S. Calhoun St., Fort Worth

* * * 

Posted 8:37am on Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014

I’m starting to grow fond of Shipping & Receiving, a bar just south of downtown Fort Worth in an old sporting goods warehouse. It has that cool industrial vibe, laid-back people and shockingly good sound for what is essentially a big ol’ concrete room. Just the place for an intimate concert where you can get up close to the action.

Saturday, I took advantage of this when I saw a band called Henry the Archer playing; a little investigation showed this group featured Matt Hembree, and I’ve been a fan of his bass work for some time.

The show was scheduled to start at 9 p.m., but there was some confusion and the band thought an opening act had been scheduled. The guys arrived not planning on going on till later, and the show was delayed. I grabbed a table and a Wi-Fi connection up front and waited it out. It was worth the wait.

And it was worth the hypothermia. Shipping & Receiving has this cool bay door that opens up to the dock, which is great in the summer, but on Saturday you could have hung meat in the place. I started eying the trash cans with the idea of building a hobo-type fire to keep warm, but the one near my table was plastic.

The band consists of Richard Hennessy (guitar, vocals, keyboard), Hembree (bass), and Kevin Geist (drums), and despite Hennessy having the flu, these guys put on quite the show. The sound is kind of a post-punk/pop punk happening with short, addictive songs and catchy hooks. Hennessy’s vocals were quite good, and the guitar and synth work was tasteful. Drums were tight and precise, with Geist playing a minimalist kit effortlessly. The rhythm section is the sonic foundation here.

Indeed, Hembree’s bass work was (as usual) a pleasure to hear and watch. He adds a respectable touch of funk and complexity in a situation where a bass player might be tempted to take the easy route.

Hennessy is new to Funkytown, having immigrated here from New Jersey of all places, but I think he will fit right in to the sonic landscape. He brings something new and creative to this mess, and I look forward to hearing more from Henry the Archer. And I look forward to many more nights at Shipping & Receiving. Note to self: Dress in layers.

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