by Amy Atkins
About a week ago, my friend Jarod called to tell me he had finagled an invitation to a one-off, in-studio performance by British indie-rockers One Eskimo. Their single "Kandi," which is off their self-titled debut, is in regular rotation on both 94.9 The River and Jarod's favorite inoffensive adult contemporary station on his satellite TV. With his surround-sound home system (he has speakers in every room), the song had literally filled his house for weeks.
Jarod had heard that 94.9 The River would be hosting One Eskimo at their studios and since it would be the band's only Boise performance, he was determined to attend. He joined the riverinteractive.com community to show that he was dedicated, and then e-mailed radio personality Tim Johnstone directly. Jarod did all but beg for an invitation in the handful of e-mails he sent Johnstone.
In a slight quandary, Jarod explained that he really wanted his boyfriend to share in the experience but he really wanted me to go, too. He offered to e-mail Johnstone ... again. Rather than let my friend come off as a stalker, I told him that he could bring both his boyfriend and me—I would get in touch with Johnstone and get myself invited.
"Kandi" hadn't floored me when I first heard it. It has an interesting story—One Eskimo sampled Candi Staton's version of "He Called Me Baby," which was a cover (and complete re-imagining) of an original version by Patsy Cline—but a cursory listen left me feeling that One Eskimo might just be another boy band.
But there's nothing quite like seeing a band live, stripped down and no more than 20 feet away to really bring their music home. And as they played four emotionally charged songs today, in between which Johnstone spoke with the loquacious vocalist Kristian Leontiou, I discovered a very charming, extremely talented quartet. And one who went to great lengths to take their music to a different level with a Disney-like animated story that is a companion piece to the album—and for which they won a British animation award. After their set, One Eskimo generously hung around, signed CDs and graciously accepted Jarod's repeated "Drive safe!" wishes.
Driving away, I admitted to the nearly giddy Jarod that One Eskimo had made one new fan.