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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.

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