Next up! Spooktacular!

Monday, December 13, 2010

come on down to Stage One....

Saturday Night the McLovins are pulling into Fairfield for a show at the Fairfield Theater Company's Stage One. They are playing at the ultimate fan-friendly venue, where the crowd can get up-close and personal with the band.

At Stage One, the hall is set up with the stage in a half-round format, with right and left house seating as well as in front seats. Their show is general admission and there's not a bad seat in the house.

***The Doors open at 7:00 pm!!

So let's go over the basics, it's a general admission show, get in line early, sit up close. $12 bucks advance, it's an Saturday all-ages show, it's the first show in 3 weeks for the band and it's The McLovins!!! What else can I say, this is going to be a shred-fest, jam-tastic dance party. Hop on-line and print yourself some tickets,.. come on down and join together with the band...

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Picking up the spare....

You may wonder who had more to gain from the recent team-up of Tom Marshall and Ant Krizan with The McLovins. Marshall and Krizan had just finished off collaborating with The Mclovins on their new single “COHESIVE”, and the live premiere of the song was at hand. The McLovins had played The Bowl a few months earlier but this show was another in a series of increasingly bigger performances since the die was cast earlier this summer where their show had vaulted them to another level. With “Cohesive” the band was now on everyone’s radar, and breaking out of the underserved reputation of being a Phish cover band. Phish phans are a saavy lot; Tom Marshall and Ant Krizan were taking a bit of a chance by hooking up with The Mclovins, though “Cohesive” probably put any thoughts of nepotism in the rear-view as this song is a true meeting of music and lyrics. I lingered a bit backstage before the show, knowing the show would be electric and I was convinced that the live meeting of these artists was going to be like capturing lightning in a bottle... The sound check came off without a hitch, with the focus placed on Wading in The Velvet Sea and Farmhouse, both the band and Tom feeling each other out a bit as the doors were opened. A small group of phans showed up early to catch a bit of the check and Tom had a wry smile and a gleam in his eye as he told me people were texting the sound check list, the word was out in the Phish community.

The house was buzzing and had filled up nicely by the time The McLovins bounced onstage, resplendent in their Ink Design Studios personalized bowling shirts. Deep Monster Trance slowly unwound, an ever widening gyre writhing and moaning. This is a perfect opener, sultry and breezy; slightly frenetic, setting the tone for a high intensity first set... The band slides into a jazzier mode and delivers This Town; Jake’s vocals are focal point of this tune though the whole band is loose and nimble; completely on the same page. Purple Trees follows, with Jeff handling most of the heavy lifting on this, Jason thundering along in step. The song morphs into Rappers Delight as Jason kicks it into gear, but instead of moving on, the song ends without the now customary Tweezer Reprise. I mark an asterisk next to this one, as there was no TreeDeTwee today. A surprising first set Tokyo Tea pounds away as this raucous dance party continues. Jeff helps fan the flames of an already incendiary set with a jaw-dropping solo.

Their unique take on Shakedown Street doesn’t allow the crowd to catch their breath as Jason and Jake trade vocals on this Grateful Dead cover, while they quickly convert this stolid jammer into an example of Shredding 101. Conundrum is another older song seeing a renewed life in recent weeks, a 6 minute roller-coaster ride of technique and style showcasing much of what this band has to offer. Tetop is the set-closer, a new song showcasing much of the bands strength in structure and lyricism, whetting the crowd’s appetite for the upcoming guest performances.

Rather than take a set break, Tom and Anthony are welcomed onstage, and even though they had worked with the band on the single, today was the first time the two of them had seen the band perform live. The next 20 minutes were pure magic. They sound as if they’d always been playing together; Wading in the Velvet Sea is first, the contrasting Harmony of Tom and Jake was just a joy. Farmhouse lopes along with the tempo a tad quicker than the original, the harmonies again ringing true, the guitars meshing sublimely, creating a slow and cool groove. Cohesive is a standout, this is the first time out for this song and they drive it like it’s stolen! Anthony stalks across the stage, setting up facing Jeff and they trade leads and rhythm as the song just rocks. Tom thanks the crowd and the McLovins and leaves the stage, the smile on his face is mirrored by the smiles of the audience, they’ve been part of something special, and it’s not over yet.

Anthony stays onstage and they start in on the opening strains of Caravan. Since the Red Square show in October, Caravan has become a vehicle for some amazing improvisation and jamming. I really can’t describe how awesome it was to see the guys and Anthony interacting, they were jamming and playing off each other, having a blast. Cissy Strut is another classic cover and again, Jeff and Anthony just tore it up while Jason held rock solid. Anthony left the stage at this point, and the band ripped through Virtual Circle, YYZ and Beadhead Crystal Bugger to close out the set. The guys and Anthony came back out to the delight of the crowd and just demolished a cover of Free Bird, tearing through a series of plateaus and giving the audience just what they came for.

This show had everything going for it, high energy playing, gorgeously languid vocal runs, double guitar pyrotechnics, this was the complete package. This was a professional show all the way, 5 great musicians getting together and created some amazing moments that the audience and I won’t soon forget. Greg got an amazing recording of this event, it’s up on the archive, and you should grab it.

I’d like to personally thank Dana Lynne for letting me use her photos that go along with this post. She’s a dedicated Mclovins fan, I first noticed her shooting back at the New Vizion studio show, and she’s become a regular fixture at Mclovins shows. She has 5 pages of pictures from this Brooklyn Bowl show up at her flick’r, follow the link and check out her amazing work.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Pre-Sale for Main Pub tickets..

The Main Pub has just opened up the Pre-Sale for tickets to Saturday night's McLovin's show. The band is coming off a tour-de-force performance with Tom Marshall and Ant Krizan at Brooklyb Bowl last weekend, so make sure you get your tickets to see the Connecticut premiere of their new single "Cohesive"!

Click for Pre-Sale information

Sunday, November 21, 2010

TIme to feel Cohesive!!

Today's the day, Tom Marshall and Ant Krizan join The McLovins today at Brooklyn Bowl. Tom and Anthony will be joining the band in performing the World Premiere of their new song COHESIVE, as well as some other classics. This is a free show, doors open at 12:00 Noon, the show kicks off at 1:00.

If you can't make it to the show, there's a Ustream running through the Brooklyn Bowl channel, so you can still watch the show and participate in the chat, Couch Tour 2010 continues to roll on... try to feel Cohesive...

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

This one will be a game changer...

Unless you've been locked in a Bridgeport ballot box for the past month, you should be aware that The Mclovins are playing this Sunday afternoon at Brooklyn Bowl with Tom Marshall and Anthony Krizan. This is a special Free All Ages show, doors open at noon and the show kicks off at 1:00 pm.

Ink Design Studios designed the show poster, and also designed the COHESIVE t-shirts, which coincidentally, is available at The McLovins website.

AJ Masthay designed a special limited edition poster to commemorate the event, and this too is available at The McLovins website.

5 color linoleum block print
Signed/Numbered limited edition of 80
Canson Edition antique white paper stock

This is the third print that AJ has done for The McLovins, check out his site for tons of his show posters, he's among the best artists on the jam band scene, and his pieces are truly works of art and love. So you owe it to yourself to get down to this show, you can drive in, Sunday traffic isn't too terrible, or if you're coming from Connecticut, you can catch a train anywhere on the I-95 corridor into Grand Central Station, and catch the Subway to the venue. Google has fantastic in-city directions utilizing public transportation, so there's no reason not to try and get down there, you'll kick yourself if you miss this one.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

This is the week...

So a lot of big doin's this week, The biggest is The McLovins playing with The Groove Smugglers at Infinity Hall on Saturday night. Tiickets to this are sure to sell-out, and there are limited seats still available.

Pete "Phanart" Mason is doing pre-orders for his new book edited with Taraleigh Weathers, PhanFood: From the Kitchen Pot to the Parking Lot. This is a recipe book focusing on the myriad gastronomic creations you're likely and not so likely to find on lot. This is a follow-up to Mason's PhanArt: The Art of the Fans of Phish. They are accepting pre-orders for the bok and a launch party is planned for December 11th at Nectar's in Burlington Vermont, featuring music by Dopapod. All net profits from PhanFood will be donated to local food banks and food charities. This is an awesome cause and you will get some fantastic ideas and recipes for your next tail-gate party. There's a link to the Phanart page over to the right, stop by and check out what Pete's doing..

After a 3 week break, looking forward to seeing everyone on Saturday night, come in costume if you can and come ready to jam, it's gonna be a smoker!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Red Square 10/09/10 Albany, NY

While driving through western Massachusetts on my way up to Albany, the changing leaves provided a stark witness to the end of summer and the onset of the fall. The time of harvesting is here, and all the hard work and effort of the spring and summer has paid off, with the band’s audience savoring the benefits of the fall’s bounty. So far October is shaping up as a water-shed month, the release of the Cohesive collaboration, their first return to Albany since May and the upcoming Infinity Hall Halloween extravaganza are all reasons to be excited this month.

I got to the venue a bit early, and had a chance to spend some time with local Albany promoter Greg Bell. Bell has been promoting shows in the Capital Region for the past dozen years and has been working with The McLovins for the past two years. He was the promoter of shows at the now-closed Revolution Hall in Troy, and currently holds shows at Jillians, Northern Lights and Red Square in Albany. The last time the band performed in a Bell show was the Revolution Hall closing show featuring 7 Walkers back in May. Greg has always done a good job of pairing the band up with some very solid musical performers, and tonight’s match-up with Consider The Source would prove to be another winning combo. The band last played Red Square last October on a shared-bill with Jimkata, Dr. Jay and The Love Prophets, and had a nice turnout. This time around it’s a longer opening set in support of Consider The Source, and a great turnout is expected.

Consider The Source are ready to embark on a tour of Israel and Turkey and had chosen to record a tour promotional video at Red Square. They run through their soundcheck and then enlist Carol, the McLovin’s manager, to step behind the camera for them. They get 2 solid takes of their performance, and then it’s time for The Mclovins to soundcheck. The band runs through a truncated version of Milktoast Man and This Town and after some treble tweaking, the sound is all set.

The band mingle a bit with some fans as the bar starts to fill up, a constant stream of fans file up to the band and get in a bit of talk and chatter before the show, a nice turnout for McLovination, with Phanart, Aimee and Scott, Jeanette and Dan Bennett showing up for the show. The band turned in an exceptional set, the fact that they were opening for a band that they had so much respect for probably had a bit to do with it, but they’re on cruise control right now, taking in all the energy and excitement thrown at them and channeling it right back out in their music. I can’t remember a false step or a miscue in the past couple months, they’ve been that steady.

There’s a couple weeks off now, the next show is their Halloween Celebration at Infinity Hall on October 30, the Groove Smugglers are the openers.

Greg’s back and got an amazing recording of the show, special thanks to Ed Guidry (tufflitestudios@yahoo.com) for providing the feed from his on stage Neuman u89i microphones, it helped give the set such a full sound.

download here

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

You need to feel Cohesive

Cohesive is the first collaboration between Tom Marshall, Anthony Krizan and The Mclovins. It's both a fresh sound and a masterful reminder of the Jam band heroes of our time.. When the dark invades your mood, you need to feel Cohesive...

Available on:

You can view exclusive making of "Cohesive" video at Relix.com

Monday, September 27, 2010

Summer sun, something's begun, but uh-oh those summer nights

Part 4

The next month features a show a weekend, wrapping up the summer and plowing straight into the last festival of the summer. The Kate is a gorgeous theatre, renovated in the past few years and now a world class music and performance venue. I throw the word special around a lot, but it’s an apt adjective in this case. The Kate was a special show, the band has never failed to surprise me with their level of naïveté and by the same token their guile, they remain keenly aware of the circumstances they find themselves in and still manage to drink in the entirety of the experience. They exhibit a strange brand of wisdom blended with a joi de vivre that you can’t help but find intoxicating. The crowd feels it, their excitement and joy for the band reflected right back to them twofold, the guys giving as they receive. The audience that night contained a fine representation of McLovination, Dave and Elizabeth Bayne, Krista and Paris, Dave Malloy, Dan O and Eve, Dan Tyler and some new southern Connecticut fans helped bring out the best in the band and another wildly improvisational performance was the result.

The next weekend was the Open House at Gengras Harley Davidson and The Mclovins were tapped to provide the afternoon’s entertainment. John Dailey and Dave Malloy both showed up to tape the show, it dad been a few gigs since I’d seen John and his presence has been missed. Jim Cypher also showed up, a gentleman and a scholar who took some amazing pictures of the day’s events. Summer stalwarts Paris and Krista and The 2 Dans and Eve made their customary appearances. Joe Neckbone and Tom Bavarro with his kids in tow made the show. The band turned in a concise and precise set peppering a few returning “Conundrum” songs in to the mix and giving the crowd just what they wanted. If you listen to the recordings you can hear the motorcycles zipping in and out all afternoon.

And now for something completely different; David Malloy is one of the rock-solid fans; I first met him at the Phish Pre-show last summer, and was instantly struck by his easy-going demeanor and musical acumen. David was in charge of handling the music for this year’s Haddam Neck Fair, and he chose to book the McLovins for a Sunday afternoon Labor Day weekend gig. They opened for Aztec Two-Step, and played to an energetic crowd of a couple hundred. This was an agricultural fair so the redolent smell of the harvest, along with roasted chicken and the slight hint of livestock filled the air. A wonderful turnout from the McLovin faithful, Dan O who sat in with the guys On Cissy Strut to start the second set; Wil Kablik, Joe Neckbone, Paris and Krista and dozens of new friends. The band was at ease during the performance, the setting was idyllic and they turned in a wonderfully languid show, lose and experimental, really stretching out and trying some new things. Now we had to wait 2 weeks for the final party of the summer, for next up was WORMTOWN!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Summer days driftin' away,

Part 3

This is where the summer flies by at a manic pace, a blur really. I ended up after Vibes with a touch of pneumonia and was not at my best for a couple weeks. Granby In the Park at Salmon Brook Park was down the road about 2 miles from the house so the closest show of the summer by far. It was an amazing night of easy-ups and lawn chairs; ice cream and Frisbees. The troops were out in force for this one, Dan, Dan and Eve, Krista and Paris, Dancelovin and his crew, The Girl who Can’t Smell and a couple hundred others. Jeff put the whole night into perspective by saying, ‘In front of the stage, crazy dance party, out in the lawn….old lady picnic.” Wonderful set, a nice reprise of the “Land Down Under from Vibes and for everyone who stayed after the show, a piece of 2nd birthday cake and some more special memories.

A week later and it’s a trip up to Mill Pond in Canton for another Jeff homecoming. The parks and recreation folk had said that these Thursday night concerts usually draw less than 50 people, but within a few minutes of the shows start, the crowd has easily grown to around 500. Another well attended show from the faithful followers, Kyle Mullins, who was instrumental in putting on the Canton High school concert was there, Mike Donagher from Vibes, Joe Neckbone, Tommy Bavarro, Sara from New York, Dancelovin, Krista and Paris and a cast of hundreds. The show saw The Groove Smugglers play twice with the band, the debut of “Whip It!” with the flower pot hats, and the live debut of “Good Catch” featuring the elusive Jeff Howard vocal. Greg h and Bryan did a fantastic job of manning the merch table for the late-arriving Deb Ott and another McLovins dance party works its way into the late summer darkness.

I missed the next weekend which was the whirlwind return to Burlington for back to back performances at the Maritime Festival and Nectar’s. Elizabeth and Dave Bayne represented the Connecticut ragers at the waterfront show. I did manage to catch the Nectar’s show streaming live on UStream, as I tried to moderate the chatroom from the comfort of my deathbed, the respiratory troubles still hanging on... Half-way through the second set, I could see the door behind the stage open and Grace Potter and The Nocturnals walked in, fresh from their performance at the Maritime Festival. Nectar’s has been very good to the guys and they always come bringing their “A” game.

So the next Friday it’s a day off from work as we trek back up the Mass pike to New York and hit the Bella Terra festival. Dan Bennett is cruising down the pike and we wave on the way by, on our way to an afternoon performance. There was a nice turnout, a quick set followed by some interview time and a meeting with Barefoot Truth. BT had played up at the Keene Solar Fest where this summer had started, and we tagged their amazing band trailer with the classic McLovins bumper sticker. The new purple skull stickers had just come in so one had to find its way onto their trailer. Barefoot Truth is one of the best bands that the guys have played with this summer, self-assured and professional, doing the work and getting it done.

We’ve winnowed the summer away, and are now down to just a handful of dates, and looks like summer is scheduled to end right on time.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Summer lovin' happened so fast..

Part 2

Now where was I… oh yes, Post-Phish McLovins 2010. The next show on the docket was June 26th at The Main Pub in Manchester, a warm-up for the following week’s performance at the inaugural Nateva Festival. The opening act Buzz Universe came up from New York to play pretty much on faith, the Mclovins chatter drawing them up to try and widen their base a bit. Main Pub is turning into the go-to local venue for the band, Keith runs this fantastic room located a bit west of Hartford and more of a sure-thing attendance wise than other local venues. Most of the old guard showed up, Bill Trzpit, Dave Malloy, and a few new pick-ups that would become summer regulars. Krista and Paris Labbe who caught the Phish-After show the week before, Nolan Dionne who only saw part of the show and Joe Neckbone; an internet regular finally seeing what it’s all about. This was a remarkable show, the band setting up in their now-standard configuration with Jason dead center. Everything the band had been exposed to the past few weeks, the Phish shows included; culminating in a barn-burning performance. The highlight of which was the debut of a Tweezer-Rerprise that shook the building as bottles were literally jumping off the shelves.

Nateva was the next weekend, Bryan and I trundled our way up north, picking Kayla up along the way and we pulled into Oxford, Me. around 11:00. I had to smile as I saw Krista and Paris a few cars ahead up as we were parking. We got into the festival grounds and caught up with the band, spent some time street-teaming and handing out bumper stickers and flyers during the Ryan Montbleau set and trying to draw just a few more moths to the McLovins flame. I managed to touch base with Justin Towle, a Maine fan of the guys who was catching his first show, and McLovins regular Dan Bennet, dancing and smiling every time I saw him. Pam Koslov was also working the festival; lavishing the band with attention and treating them like kings! Their now legendary show drew a crowd of over 2,000, many of them first-timers who couldn’t pass up the chance to see the guys play, and which I feel may have been the summer’s most perfect set, a 45 minute wonder climaxing with Tweezer Reprise; tapping into the zeitgeist of Phish’s summer of Tweeprise. As if that wasn’t a big enough day; the band visited backstage at the Main Stage, met Wayne Coyne of The Flaming Lips, were invited to dance onstage in costume during the beginning of the first set and managed to spend the entire show onstage with the band!

The guys caught a breather for a couple weeks while Jeff and his family visited Israel and their next live show was a return to Main Pub for a steamy summer afternoon Anniversary block party. The guys played after The Brothers McCann, who also played when the Mclovins visited StrangeCreek the beginning of the summer. This was another smoking set; no cobwebs from the nearly 2 week layoff were visible, with tons of the Mclovins family present. Mike McCoy, Bill Clifford, Dan and Eve, Tim and Dan Tyler, Krista and Paris, Kayla, Bryan, Ryan Holowesko and Bill T all showed up and helped to make this a very special show. Keith again was super-supportive of the band, gave them a great slot to play and overall just continues to provide so many opportunities for the band to shine.

Vibes… what can you really say, it was massive and it was awesome, we were 2,000 strong and we marched. We were all there in that moment, one heart one soul…and just wait until next year; we’ve just scratched the surface.

And the summer still isn’t over, there’s a bit more to come…

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Summer lovin' had me a blast..

Part 1

Labor Day comes along right on schedule, and it’s re-appearance means that it’s the un-official end of summer.. another summer of The McLovins. Indulge an old man a bit as I stumble backward through the dusty halls of my short-term memory to recap this summer that was.

The summer began for me a little early this year with a late April show up @ Keene State at the Solar-Fest. Back at the scene of the crime as it was, the November show in Keene was the initial push to cultivate a college fanbase and the reception the band received on their return in April was amazing. This show followed the spring recording sessions that would soon become the “Good Catch” album and this performance saw the debut of the “facemelt” shirt and limited WaterWheel poster. We met super-fan Nipper Jellie, hooked up with Keene State friends George Barber, Ian Galipeau and the band shared the bill with Barefoot Truth, a great bunch of guys.

The McLovins debut @ Infinity Hall came next on May 7th, and the fans made this venerable old hall a sell-out. The Groove Smugglers played a set and sat in with the band on the debut of Paul Simon’s “Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes”. Dan Ogrodnik, Dan Tyler and Mike Lamanga turned in an awesome set, Eve Windebank created an amazing poster for this show, and her limited edition print was a pre-sale premium. Will and Win from the Barn Show made their way down the hill to rage a bit, this was Jim Cypher’s first show and a ton of friends and relatives of the band packed the show as walls just shook.

A week later and it’s up to the bucolic village of Woodstock NY and a performance opening for Max Creek at the Bearsville Theater. The band had traveled earlier in the week up to WDST to record some promos for the new album and to promote their upcoming Mountain Jam performance, and the energy was high for this show. I formally met Jim Cypher, and managed to drag my brother-in-law to the gig (he still thanks me for this), and I met Drew Frankel, WDST dj and a big fan and tireless promoter of The McLovins. Also in attendance was Lori Ann Christina who writes for Coventry Blog and I couldn’t help but smile as she fell under the band’s spell.

May 27th and its back up to Troy New York and the last rock show at Revolution hall presented by Albany based Uber-Promoter Greg Bell. 7 Walkers headlined and were very nice to the guys with Bill Kreutzman and George Porter Jr in particular taken with the energy and professionalism of The McLovins. Jeanette Olsen, Phanart Pete Mason and I think Brock R showed up, all of the Albany crowd who’ve been super-supportive of the band. Scott Decker managed to come down with his daughters and say hi.

Two days later and its up to the wilds of western Massachusetts for StrangeCreek at Camp Keewanee. A surprise jam in the kid’s tent on Saturday afternoon leads to a packed main stage performance on Sunday. The first festival of the summer brings some nice surprises, a Consider The Source performance out in the woods, Jeff Pevar catching part of Saturday and Sunday’s set, and the die is cast for the summer festivals to follow.

The next weekend brought Mountain Jam and it was an interesting beast, a jam festival on the grounds of a gorgeous ski resort. Dodging rainclouds all weekend, the band played before a crowd of about 400 on the Colonels Hall stage, a couple big bust-outs and Jeff Howard hopping on top of a stage case were the highlights of the set. Got to hook up with Brandon Bosserman and Jen Fureman, Dan Bennet was prowling the crowd and I also finally met Pam Koslov who was so kind and attentive to the boys during their Gathering Of The Vibes show last summer. Jeanette Olsen showed up and did yeoman’s work, again helping during the frantic merch table crush after the set.

A week later and The McLovins perform a benefit concert at Canton High School, Jeff’s alma mater. Kyle Mullins helped set up the show, they had a nice hard-core audience, Dan Bennet was there, he’s getting to be a familiar sight on these McLovins weekends.

The next 2 weeks were pivotal for the band as a confluence of events, the Phish tour storming through the northeast, and some old fashioned band team building, set the stage for the direction their music would take the rest of the summer. Phish came into Hartford for a Thursday and Friday night show as The Mclovins played an after-show at Black Eyed Sally’s on the 17th and Jeff caught the Friday night Phish show. The band then played a show at Sullivan Hall in NYC on the Saturday the 19th and Jason, Jake and Jeff caught Phish down at Camden NJ the next week. The BES show was a bit under-attended, the mid-week slot and the length of the Phish show both contributed to the turnout. The band soldiered on, playing their hearts out for the people that were there and turned in a very loose and improvisational show. The Sullivan Hall show was a showcase for some NYC music students and there wasn’t a large contingent of McLovins fans there but again the band put on a solid performance in these less than ideal conditions. The biggest impact of this week and a half had to be the trip down to Camden. Not only did the band get to experience some amazing music as a group, but they also got to spend some time with Cecil and Tom Marshall. In the weeks to come, the influence of this Phishiest of experiences starts to permeate their live performances.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Three hearts, three minds, one vision....

Last night at The Katherine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center, The McLovins played without a doubt their best show of the year; perhaps their best ever. The evening began innocuously enough with an easy hour-long drive down the sleep seaside town of Old Saybrook. The Kate is a 1908 Town Hall converted into a state-of-the art performing arts center and is now a premier shoreline music hall. The aural balance of the hall is fantastic and the band tore through a couple runs of Tokyo Tea as a soundcheck to set the levels and at a bit after 8:00, the fun started.

Conundrum was up first and was a fairly conservative choice, akin to dipping a toe into a freshly drawn bath. . Conundrum, the title song to their debut album, is most representative of the musical range the band is capable of playing, a bouncy jam instrumental with a ton of swing and some solid shred. This Town followed, and offered a nice little exploratory jam toward the end of the song but again was a fairly moderate offering, but apparently the first two songs were just the prelude to the mayhem that was on the wind.

The band had set up in their alternate stage configuration, with Jeff and Jake stage right and left and Jason smack dab in the middle. Deep Monster Trance is a forceful example of the power of this stage structure and what this band can do they’re on top of their game. DNT this night was a primordial beast jam, Jeff and Jason hunching over and squaring off against each other, with Jake powering forward, the trio locked in a striking symbiosis, as the leads and rhythms blurred throughout the song. Something special was happening onstage and everyone there was a witness. With wide grins the band dove straight into Cissy Strut and within a minute the jam was again in full force, Jason led the charge last night, casting a strong funk groove that really set the tone for the entire night. A monstrous bass solo cut through the din and Jeff coaxed some stunning boppy swing leads as the song drew to a close. Purple Trees was up, but not it’s recent form as an intro to the Purple Trees->Rapper’s Delight-.Tweeprise that has become a show staple. This time Purple Trees was it’s own entity, and twice during the song the transition into Rapper’s was waved off, as the band completely deconstructed the song and then throwing it back onto the tracks it had careened off. Jason and Jeff traded leads throughout with Jeff pulling back to let Jason thunder and then Jason anchoring Jeff’s soaring leads. This song was a behemoth, and with the run of Deep Monster Trance, Cissy Strut and Purple trees, the band had turned in one of their best sets of jams ever. Watchin’ The detectives was a nice cool down, the band, still a little dazed by what was happening on stage, gave the audience a nice re-entry and the set break was nigh and the best was yet to come.

The second set hit the ground running right from the start as the intro to Tokyo Tea spills through the theater. The energy and improvisational tone of the first set was in full effect as the song stretches into a jamming opus as Jeff runs through a series of Star Wars teases. Milktoast Man is a laconic and deliberately paced tune, but since the Main Pub show in July, the song has become a vehicle of intense exploration. Tonight was no exception, Jason stolid in the center, constantly flicking back and forth between Jake and Jeff, guiding the jams along, leaving Jake and Jeff ample freedom to probe and push. Signature and tempo changed rapidly while Jeff and Jason alternated leads, the groove again assuming a deep funk bent as the tune slowly made its way back around to the original tempo. Shakedown Street is one of the band’s earliest covers, and this night it quickly evolved into a smooth funk dance jam.

The last 3 songs of the set are just stunning examples of how far this band has come, and a glimpse of what’s still to come. . Virtual Circle was just a sprawling work, a raucous and fevered performance, just when you thought things were unraveling, the song tightens and spins back down into its core jam. This went on several times during the song before the climax. Jake was taken back a bit and was obviously moved by their performance. Caravan was a last minute fill-in for Killing Time and this was the Caravan of Nectar’s; a laconic, swampy version, Jake playing two-thirds tempo, Jason running triplets, and Jeff dredging up the dirtiest, snaky riffs I’ve ever heard him play. Beadhead Crystal Bugger was just a staggering piece; I can’t do justice to the level of musicianship displayed during this segment. You have to listen to the recording yourself and realize that this was 3 songs each a staggering improvisational work and each one more intense than the song before. The crowd called for an encore and as soon as Jason lowered the mic so Jeff could get his vocal in, I knew what was coming. Good Catch was a delight, a cherry on top of the sundae and a fitting end to an amazing night. This was a moving night, the last big summer show before school starts, and it was a night I’ll always remember.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

A quick one while he's away...

Fantastic show yesterday at the Bella Terra Festival up in Stephenstown, NY.
The festival was held on the grounds of Garner Farm, in a section that I believe was a horse field with a sprawling lawn with a placid pond and nearby herds of cattle. The and turned in a forceful and focused 65 minute set hitting all the right notes and giving the crowd just what they wanted. The boys were also able to catch up with Barefoot Truth, their show mates from last spring's Keene State Solar Fest.

Bella Terra Festival

Virtual Circle, Milktoast Man, Tokyo Tea, Ghost, 20 In A 35,

Guillotine Machine,

Deep Monster Trance

Tonight is another local Connecticut show as the guys are headlining at the Katherine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center in Old Saybrook Ct. Tickets will be still be available at the door if you're there early, the box office opends 1 hour prior to the performance and the doors open @ 7:30. it's a $17.00 ticket to a hall that holds 250, so this will be an intimate show with a heady atmosphere very similar to that of Infinity Hall.

Up next: The McLovins at Gengras Harley Davidson Fall Open House - Aug 28th