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Sunday, January 24, 2010

Sully's Pub 01/23/10 - Part 1

I got up this morning with my head all awhirl, a bit tired from bopping and dancing half the night and morning away. So I’m gong to break up the review of last night’s Sully’s Pub show into two separate posts. After a fairly efficient sound check, the opening band Emergency Service went onstage a bit late. A quick stage change allowed The McLovins to hit the stage a bit after 11:30, and they tore into the opener Purple Trees. I’ve long considered Purple Trees to be the most commercial or anthemic song off their Conundrum album, tonight’s versions was deliberate and languid, with an expansive jamming section that just shredded and pushed the song to over 15 minutes. The first show of 2010 found the band totally at ease with a swagger and a joy that was so evident to the crowd. Jake has adopted a sharper, more precise drumming style, his power is massive, but I notice so much more of his drumming is for effect, very jazzy in its use, filling spaces, propulsive and pulling the songs forward . The band then dives right into Hell Yeah!, the second song off of their new EP and Jason and Jeff have both broken strings during the previous song. This doesn’t slow them down, they still play on and when the song ends, it’s time for a quick string change and a mini-break. After only 2 songs they are already ½ hour into their set.

Sully’s Pub is an interesting place to play, the crowd is right on top of the band, the front of the stage pushed back about 20 feet and then a series of 3 or 4 stairs brings you up to the back bar. A band playing onstage looks forward to see the crowd rise up in front of them and all that energy from the crowd pours right back down to the stage. Jason finished his string change first so he and Jake started in on Rapper’s Delight, chugging right along, Jeff joined in before the end and all was right with the world. Deep Monster Trance started in next, easily the best live version I’ve heard, again taking the original song and just blowing it up big and bold. Jake slowed thing down next with a pretty remarkable cover of Rocky Raccoon, played at half-tempo, which turned into an audience sing-a-long. 20 In A 35 is one of my favorite of the newer songs, having debuted in a somewhat muted form at Boston in October. This song really stands out due to the interplay between Jake and Jason’s rhythm, and Jeff playing these amazingly sustained notes, holding one for a good minute and a half. Killing Time quickly follows and to quote Steve H, “Killing Time is a sweet song about butterflies” that evolves to a thrash fest. Jason starts scourging his fretboad, while Jake attacks his percussion with a short sharp attack and Jeff turning in just an incendiary guitar assault.

The band is really deep into it at this point, the response from the crowd is pushing and urging them on, the shack was packed and rocking, the night has just started......

Rocky Raccoon

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