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Saturday, October 31, 2009

The Red Square Albany, NY 10/29/09

Last night it was time to move a little further south along the Hudson, down from the funky city of Troy to the Capital city of Albany. The Red Square is a nice club located in a nice brick building down by the river. Performing on a low-stage decorated with an amazing Great Pumpkin carved by fan Jeannette Olsen, the band seemed quite at home among the close quarters. The show kicks off with a nice bluesy jam featuring a thick Thrill is Gone-ish feel and after warming up they punch into Deep Monster Trance. This is one of their newer songs and this ode to the all things wild percolates with a deliberate groove until diving into the wild rumpus. Jeff kept running a series of ‘The Simpson’s” teases with Jake growling out his lyrics. The vocal mike kept acting up during this and the next couple songs, leading to even more energetic drumming from Jake. Shakedown Street is one of the more favored covers and leads to an expansive jam in the second half, Jake and Jason trade vocals during the song and the jam in the middle just erupts and any resemblance to the original song is just coincidental by the time they jump back into the chorus. Sea of Wisdom sees the mike problems easing a bit and playing a clean and crisp version of this song, very sweet and melodic.

Steve H called the next tune, 20 In A 35 which is the freshest of the new songs and the guys just tore this up. With no hint of the previous vocal problems, Jake nailed this one while Jason and Jeff dueled back and forth throughout the song. This really raised the energy level of the show, the band pouring it out to the crowd and the crowd responding. Virtual Circle followed and continued down the path blazed by the previous song, with Jeff repeatedly teasing “I Kissed A Girl” the song quickly escalates out of control spiraling upward for a few minutes before stopping on a dime and landing back in the chorus. Killing Time starts out so soft and melodic and ends up an unyielding force of nature, a sonic wave rolling over the frenzied audience who push the band ever on. This second half of the set, from 20 In A 35 shows the band in full control of the music, able to do as they please. Jake cool and breezy on the mike, Jason stomping all over the place running leads and clamoring rhythm and Jeff putting on a clinic in the use and abuse of lead guitar. Purple Trees is the anthemic signature piece for the band and has become the place for the band introductions. Jake leads the crowd in ovations for Jason, himself and Jeff, leading to a wind-down of the show.

Shorter shows such as these are bittersweet, a short, sharp, shock …a chance to get your McLovins fix. Akin to a brief repast, it is nourishing but not satisfying. These gigs are necessary to growth, if you are building a scene you need to be able to pop in and play the show and come back a month later and do it again. A very good show but if something was lacking, I think it was the missing 2nd set as they were just getting warmed up. A shout-out to all you McLovinators who showed up, Barry & Holly, Steve, Aimee & Scott, Jeannette & Kurt and Brock. The support given to this band is amazing and you all are a special part of the McLovins family.

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