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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Sullivan Hall, NYC 12/29/09

The Mclovins Live from Sullivan Hall 12/29/09

It's hard to believe the year is at its end once again. This season is traditionally filled with good intentions and resolutions, reflections on the past and hopes for the future. The Mclovins played their last show of the calendar year last night at Sullivan Hall in New York City, the show featuring a full slate of opening acts who gave ample support for the guy's first headlining gig down in the Village. The show opened with Remember September, followed by The Electrix and finally Pleeko as The McLovins then closed the show and the year out in fine style. Sullivan Hall does a very quick line-up sound check, it takes 5 minutes or so right before the set starts, and the sound in this smallish venue is just huge. This quick set-up really helps to put the band at ease and allows them to come crashing right out of the gate. Last night was truly an epic show, the band knows how to handle the important gigs and this one was textbook McLovins. Jason and Jeff in particular both sounded raw and unchained, Jake's pummeling drumming and unrelenting vocal attack cut right through the band's curtain of sound. This is pure power trio performing, this is Cream or the first incarnation of Govt. Mule.. this is a band in full control, weaving rich and intricate soundscapes, pulling the crowd in and bringing them along.

The show was an exercise of power and control, incendiary playing from all the members, a crowd up close and intimate, with the give and take between performer and audience palpable. I could think of no higher note that the band could leave the old year behind while preparing for the challenges and triumphs to come in the new year. This year is the foundation, the cornerstone on which the future of this band will be built. The fan base is ever-expanding, and the McFamily has gained many members, Phanart Pete and Julie P, John Dailey, Greg Bell, Jonathan Blake, Jeanette O & Kurt S, Scott & Aimee D, Dave Golden, The Cheese Shack girls Annalena & Hannah, David from New Vision, David Malloy, Brock, David & Elizabeth B, Ross Taylor, Frank Moon, Drew Chadwick, Barry & Holly B, Steve H & Mike M, Wil K, Lucas & Brit, Becky S, Win and Warner, Justin V, Jeff & Anita D, Maddie & Hannah H, Adam H, George B, Tyler C and Bryan.

The acts that they've played with or opened for,
Strange Design, The Flow, Keller Williams, U-Melt, The Breakfast, The Brew, The Lake & The Lion, Moe., Max Creek, Pleeko, The Electrix, Marco Benevento have all treated the guys with respect and as peers. I can't think of any mis-steps the band has had this year, so in lieu of resolutions, maybe we can dispose of a few 2009 Mclovin Cliches... "None of them are old enough to drive a car", "All they need is a keyboard player" and my favorite "I hear they're a Phish cover band". If I forgot to mention or thank any of you, sorry for the omission, thanks for a great year, and cheers to 2010.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Wil Kablik's Birthday Bash 12/26/09

Happy Birthday Wil!

Just some highlights from last night's Birthday bash:

  • The amazing food and those wonderful pita chips

  • A remarkable jam that led into Caravan which then turned into a reggae rumbler

  • The Funk Jam that spilled into the Tease Game during the 2nd set

  • Backwards Down The Number Line dedicated to Wil with a "Happy Birthday" tease

  • All the friends and family who showed up to celebrate Wil's birthday

  • that gorgeous rain-soaked Hartford skyline view all night...
  • Saturday, December 19, 2009

    Blame it on Albert...

    No show tonight, The McLovins have met something tougher than they are, an over-exuberant weather forecast... by the way, if anyone has seen Albert, please contact your local authorities..

    Monday, December 14, 2009

    Virtual Circle EP

    EP - "An extended play (EP) is a vinyl record, CD, or music download which contains more music than a single, but is too short to qualify as an LP". The Virtual Circle EP offers the studio recording of this song as well as a bonus single of Hell Yeah! and is another savvy move for this band. Virtual Circle is a real revelation, the guitar work and mirrored vocals true standouts. Jeff lays his lead track over some fluidly running rhythm lines as Jake and Jason spar on lead vocals. At a little over 9 minutes this song plays out like it does live and the concert feeling is reflected beautifully in this recording. Hell Yeah! benefits mostly from a more deliberate pace than it's played live, bouncy and punchy without feeling rushed. The vocal theme in the second half of the song works exceedingly well, affording the chorus an almost "Police-like" cadence. Strong work on this EP all around, and a bargain at twice the price. This is an excellent snap-shot of where the guys are right now, propulsive rhythms, searing guitar and exuberant vocals. If you like what you hear on these songs, I urge you to go see them live, just step up and prepare to be floored.

    You can pick this up on the band's website

    Friday, December 11, 2009

    Can I get a hell yeah?

    We’ve now entered a second era of The McLovins. A group of new songs have joined the live rotation and as a result have supplanted some old favorites. VIRTUAL CIRCLE was the first of the batch of fresh songs, premiering at Blueback Square. STENCIL OF A LANDSCAPE showed up as a sister piece to Sea Of Wisdom at the Brewfest show in Waterbury. DEEP MONSTER TRANCE made its bow at a Sully’s show and the genesis of 20 IN A 35 was used as filler during the Boston show, when Jeff broke a string. HELL YEAH is the runt of the litter, brand new and still finding its way. These new songs have a themic connection, they come at you in a more frenetic pace as the band stretches a bit and lets the energy flow. I may miss hearing Rhyme or Reason, or Sea of Wisdom as often as I’d like, but this is the foundation of a next album and a new direction in their song-writing. I like this direction and the tightness of the band is so solid, they are on the move. Keep your eyes open, with these guys if you blink, you’ll miss something..can I get a hell yeah?

    Saturday, December 5, 2009

    The Mclovins opening for Max Creek 12/04/09 Revolution Hall

    Last night at Revolution Hall was another one of those shows, the kind where you're not sure what's going to happen or where it's going to go or how they'll get there. Now opening for Max Creek is another step on the road for the band and a chance to connect with a veteran jam band audience. They jumped right out of the gate with a clean slow jam that evolves into a spacey and expansive jam, slowly sliding into Caravan, the tempo controlled and moderate. The song then sinks into a bass and drum fueled funk jam that would not have seemed out of place in a 1970's erotic soundtrack before finding it's way back to Caravan. Jake then announces the next song for all of the audience that were "here". Killing Time starts crisply and the night's first vocals float out to envelope the crowd, the song grows as Jeff adds layer upon layer until the song is a monster, the sound shaking the room as it inexorably pounds to it's climax. It's now 2 songs into the set and the band is on fire. Not sure if it's the venue, or the crowd, or who they're opening for, but tonight there is not an unsure step or wasted note. They are all on the same page, it's though they're watching with their ears, the focus was so solid with the band as a whole working 2 steps ahead, following a unseen aural map. The sound in the hall was just tremendous, during the soundcheck I walked outside as the whole side of the hall was vibrating and cars parked along the street were rattling along in time to the music.

    After Killing Time I was sure they were going to hit on Virtual Circle, but Jake called 20 in A 35 and Jeff crunched out the opening bars. I was so impressed with how controlled his vocals were, this is a powerful song and it thunders along, at times seeming it may escape the tethers of the band. Virtual Circle shows up next, Jake and Jason running the vocal volleys, the crowd totally into this song as Jeff just shreds his leads. The whole band played second level stuff last night, constantly walking the fine line between control and anarchy, the energy barely controlled, the songs just talking on a life of their own. Hell Yeah is the newest ordnance in the McLovins arsenal, a bouncy tune with a slick bass run by Jason and a lyrical but haunting vocal refrain that just pulls the energy back into the band before unleashing the fury back on the audience. Cissy Strut is up next and like Caravan, the tempo of this cover is slowed, allowing the inclusion of the cover of the night... Jason keeps teasing leads at Jake, Jeff follows his lead and Jake shakes it off twice before bowing before the inevitable Rapper's Delight. As in the Keene show, this song fits into Cissy's so well it's as tho they were made for each other, so I'm gonna name it and claim it, this new creation is Cissy's Delight.

    The crowd reacts well to this raucous hybrid, and they close out the show with an amazing rendition of Deep Monster Trance. The show clocked in at a bit over an hour and 10 minutes, but in no way did I feel cheated, this was a set-list show, created for effect and executed masterfully.

    I'm pretty sure the last time I saw Max creek was either at The Old Well or at Riverside Park circa 1980, and last night at Revolution Hall they came through without missing a beat. Guitarist Scott Murawski, bassist John Rider and keyboardist Mark Mercier along with drummers Greg Vasso and Scott Allshouse are keeping the flame of this band alive. I only stayed around for the first 45 minutes of their eventual 3HOUR SET but the majority of the crowd came to see Creek play and they were not disappointed. I'm just so glad for The McLovins that they got to open for these legends and to quote Jake Huffman, thanks for coming out to Troy, New York to see 2 bands from Granby! Now I have to get ready because tonight the guys are playing another show in Collinsville opening for Marco Benevento Trio, should be another great show.

    Friday, December 4, 2009

    Mclovins opening for Max Creek 12/04 Revolution Hall

    Really don't know how much more there is to say,
    you're going to wish you had been there...