Doug Holt (guitar), Jane Holt (vocals), Susan Abraham (guitar and vocals), Max Shapiro (percussion), Jeremy Manier (bass guitar) and Kip Rainey (pedal steel, mandolin, guitar).

The evening began with “Silver Lining” by Mt. Joy and ended with “Baba O’Riley” by The Who. In between, the band Alongside Harold played two hours of solid Americana covers “with a twist,” including a mellow version of “Lovesong” by the Cure and a mashup of “I’ve Got a Feeling” and “She Came in through the Bathroom Window” by the Beatles.

The Saturday evening concert drew a crowd of almost 350 people on the lawn outside the American Legion Evanston Post 42, said Mike Hughes, events coordinator. The summer evening had the feel of a reunion of sorts, with concert-goers hailing friends, acquaintances and community members they hadn’t seen since before the pandemic began, over 16 months ago.

The band’s name was inspired by the longstanding and much-loved hardware store on Central Street, Harold’s True Value Hardware, located just around the corner from the home of band members Doug and Jane Holt. An institution in the neighborhood, Harold’s has an eclectic inventory, with customers often remarking that if you can’t find what you’re looking for at Harold’s, you probably didn’t need it.

Saturday night was the first performance of the year for Alongside Harold. During the pandemic, band members used Band Lab to collaborate remotely, and gathered outside to practice, warmed by propane heaters.  

“It’s pure joy to play great music with such special band mates and to see a crowd enjoying themselves. Lifting people’s spirits is the best reward,” said guitarist and vocalist Susan Abraham about returning to the stage.

Vocalist Jane Holt echoed her bandmate’s comments. “It’s just truly a joy and a privilege to be able to play live music at all…and for our band, I think these last 18 months cemented how much we enjoy making music together.”

According to the band’s Facebook page, Alongside Harold “blends female-led voices with rock roots, country and pop.” The band’s next gig is a private party, with other concert dates in the works.