Monday, September 7, 2009
Concert Of Hope 05/22/09
This was my first McLovins live show, a week or so before this concert, I had seen the band perform Linus and Lucy from what looked like a battle of the bands on a local cable access show. I remembered their name from an article in the Hartford Advocate and decided to check them out on Youtube. I saw the last 10 minutes of their May 22nd appearance on A Better Connecticut where they played Purple Trees out to the credits and knew right then I should see them live. That night they were playing at a benefit concert up at Granby High, The Concert For Hope and after begging and whining I could find no one willing to go with me, so I struck off solo to go see the show. Arriving there 10 minutes before the show, started looking around for the parents I had seen earlier in the day during their television appearance. I caught a couple glimpses of the band walking around back-stage and having no idea when they would be playing, I settled into my seat for the night.
The first band up was a nice acoustic group named Acaleia, featuring male and female lead vocalists a guitar player and drummer. They performed a strong selection of originals, very nice vocal work with a sound somewhat similar to Lone Justice, definitely an alt-country feel to the band. The group that followed was a female trio who I have to apologize for not remembering their name, they set up on stools and using the drummer from Acaleia they played a selection of covers and originals. A nice blend of harmonies, all 3 traded lead vocals during their set, thematically they fit very well with the opening act. A short break followed and then The Kicks came on, a tight skate-punky ska-ish quartet. They played very well to the crowd, who thoroughly enjoyed their set, a strong guitarist Chas Pfeiffer and bass player Rob Dei Dolori leading the way. An odd part of the group was the vocalist Pat Waltman, he had style and energy and reminded me of Mike Patton from Faith No More but seemed a little hesitant, he had a ton of swagger and smirked while not singing. They played mostly funky originals but did do a nice cover of One Big Holiday by My Morning Jacket. The next band was very exciting, and really was a shocker, I think they were called Channel 6 News Crew. They came out playing a curtain of feedback, 2 guitarists just shredding and screaming along, the lead player assaulting a number of effect boxes and just creating a sonic wall. Similar to Sonic Youth but without the melodies they tore through a series of songs, some with no discernable start or finish, the energy and power was evident, though they did use that to bludgeon the audience. After their set, the crowd thinned somewhat and I awaited The McLovins.
They came on to close the show, playing to about half the people who had been there, and performed a very clean and economical show. I was hoping to hear Purple Trees, but they played a 4 song set featuring Sea Of Wisdom, Bri – In Memory Of, Dynne and closing with Killing Time. I was struck by their professional approach, they settled in, quick tuned and just tore into their set. Now this was their second concert of the day, and even though it was getting late, they still gave a great show. Killing Time ending with Jeffrey’s signature feedback loop, all of them having a blast. After they finished, various members of The McLovins & The Kicks hopped back upstage and tore through a cover of Girls by the Beastie Boys. The concert ended and I was tempted to go up and talk to the band, but that was going to have to wait, I was really struck by how good The McLovins were, and knew I had to see them again and soon, a feeling I expect most people who see them share.