Photo: Esplanade

US indie folk band Blind Pilot are not hugely popular in Singapore (yet) but if their debut performance in the city-state’s Mosaic Music Festival is of any indication – the band’s set to take-off to even greater heights here soon.

Having opened for The Decemberists and the Counting Crows previously, the Portland band showcased its unique blend of folk pop mixed with a certain charming sincerity on stage that’s often missing from acts these days.

Perhaps that’s why they seem to sound better LIVE.

Lead singer/guitarist Israel Nerbeker conveyed his lyrics on heartbreak and relationships like a well-controlled pilot – navigating the audience through turbulence and dark skies– using his beautiful voice which didn’t falter once.

His co-pilots were on form as well. Luke Ydstie (upright bass) kept it tight and managed to draw much laughter with his dry wit between songs.

Ian Krist was an interesting character with his massive beard and tattoos – a sweetly odd juxtaposition with his vibraphone melodies.

Kati Claborn showed why she’s a bit of a musical queen – she did back-up vocals and played the banjo, ukulele, dulcimer and helped with percussion as well.

Dave Jorgensen was more than up to his task with one hand on his keyboard and the other belting trumpet solos.

Ryan Dobrowski’s intelligent and nuanced drumming gave an edge to the overall performance.

They performed for about an hour delighting the audience with a set list featuring songs from their two albums.

The band brought their set to a close with a touching performance of “3 Rounds and a Sound” - totally unplugged. No cables, amps or mics. They lunged forward towards the seated audience with their instruments and their hushed tones somehow spoke louder without electricity.

As Nerbeker sang the last few lines, “Blooming up from the ground/Three rounds and a sound/Like whispering you know me/You know me,” the relationship between the band and the audience was cemented for good.