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Next up! get your hike on....

Saturday, March 13, 2010

03/06/10 Couch Tour - New Vizion Jam Around The Globe




Last Saturday’s performance at New Vizion was another one for the ages.. The Couch Tour idea is that McLovin’s fans , no matter where they are, or who can’t make it to a local show or to one of the larger regional events to virtually experience a McLovin’s live concert. The UStream technology is very empowering for an independent band, it places control and responsibility for how their media product is displayed and disseminated. David Colbourne has produced both the Conundrum album and Virtual Circle EP for the band, and was the host for last night’s party. David has a very close rapport with the band and his knowledge and instincts make him a natural choice for helping provide the best possible audio and video for a streaming show. Several days preparation went into making sure the technical end of the presentation was as good as it could be. The band had built it…but would they come?







Guests started to show up about ½ hour before the start time and the show kicked off a few minutes after 7:00. The 70 or so people in attendance quickly got into the groove established by the surprise opener, Purple Trees. Normally a 2nd set staple, PT is a chance for the band to free-form a bit, and a has become the go to spot for the band introductions. This time, the song became a beast, just all over the place, vibrant and explosive, with energy reminiscent of a set closer rather than the show opener. Deep Monster Trance was next, the crowd suitably warmed up after the previous juggernaut, joined right into this groove-centric jam piece. Bri was a nice chill after the previous two dance numbers and set the tone perfectly for the next song. This Town debuted as the closest thing The McLovins have come to a ballad. Dancelovin described the vibe as saucy, as the song mixes a smoky and sultry feel with some very thoughtful lyrics. Tokyo Tea is a crowd-pleasing high energy number that slammed right into Killing Time, a sonic masterpiece which brought the house down.




Cissy Strut was next, a cover that the band has made their own and they pair it half-way through with the Rapper’s Delight jam. This version of Cissy’s-Delight was just massive, a meandering rap-jam that really kicked the band into a higher gear. By this point the band was attacking every song with such determination, each member resolute and focused, and then the opening chords of Seven Nation Army rang out. I can’t be objective on this, this is my favorite of the McLovin’s covers, it’s the first song I learned to play on the guitar and it’s a chance to hear Jason bust out some vocals. The second new song of the night made its live debut next, Beadhead Crystal Bugger. This is a hyper-jam piece, chock-full of tempo and signature changes, echoes of Steve Vai and an undercurrent of King Crimson help to infuse this number with wild, progressive rock energy, another genre conquered. Milktoast Man a reggae chiller grounded the crowd after the previous number, very nice job on harmonizing vocals from Jake and Jason.





By this time in the set, the band has become a crucible, white hot and barely contained as the energy slips out and flows out over the crowd. Virtual Circle becomes the tipping point, erasing the line between performer and audience, people pushing right up and encircling the band as they feed back off the crowd. Conundrum flows right out of VC, the high vibe title track to their album, and a fantastic representation of all that the McLovins has to offer. Guillotine Machine is easily the song of the night, Jeff and Jason completely in sync, Jake practicing corporal punishment on his kit, the song spirals out of control yet miraculously they find their way back to the center and pound out a thundering climax. Jake announces that this is the last song, and they slip into their cover of Rocky Raccoon, the crowd swaying and singing along with the lyrics, such a nice end to an astonishing set. The band unplugs and walk out into the room, spent from the night’s work, though chants of “One More Song!” draw them back and they pick up their weapons for one more song. 20 In A 35 is a suitable closer, it gives the people what they want as the party-goers go nuts, lost in the jam and the moment.



The thing that will stick with me most about the night is how diverse the McLovins fans are. Just as the band’s music is hard to define while blurring musical genres and styles, the fan base is also hard to put your finger on. You look around and see teenagers and twenty-somethings jamming and dancing side-by-side with older veteran jam band fans. I think it may frustrate the guys when asked to describe their demographic, they appeal to a wide audience of musical fans but that would have to be anyone who loves great music. The one common thread that holds this crowd together in rapt adoration of this band is that The McLovins are living their dream and they are making great music.

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