I'd like to welcome Bob Doda here at OAOAOMT with a guest review of the Brooklyn Bowl McLovins show. He's fresh off an great Hidden Track interview with the guys at the Brooklyn venue. He chipped in with a nice review and you can check out his interview here.
There were no “300” games at the Brooklyn Bowl on March 7, but The McLovins were nothing short of perfect on stage.
In front of an audience ranging from the nation’s greatest generation through dancing 3-year-olds, The McLovins played a rocking show at the half bowling alley, half stage venue.
The Sunday afternoon kicked off with the opening licks to Tokyo Tea, a new fan favorite thanks to the slapping bass groove provided by Jason Ott and Jeff Howard, who puts the fun back in “funk.” The jam section stops on a dime reminding the audience of where exactly this colorful song began in the first place. They grabbed the attention of fans and bowlers from the jump.
From raucous to reggae, Milk Toast Man is a patient song with a laid back vibe. This song allows Jason and drummer Jake Huffman to harmonize their singing voices and take the musical scenic route...no rush. The McLovins jumped feet first into their next epic, Deep Monster Trance, which put Howard’s guitar on display. With his head nodding back and forth, the up and down arpeggios and machine gun tactics of the 15-year-old left jaws dropped. Huffman matched Howard’s intensity driving the piece forward with focused momentum.
After coasting through a tight Hell Yeah and Guillotine Machine, the boys premiered a song Howard described as “chilled out.” This Town is a short and sweet ode to risk taking whose lyrics were written while in Vermont for their Nectar’s debut. Howard came up with the riff one day while he was home sick from school. They are hoping the radio-friendly tune will catch the ears of record labels and radio stations.
The band was in the pocket for Virtual Circle, which followed the new track. It runs laps of instrumentation and built enough energy to run the bowling bowl return mechanism. Circle was followed by Killing Time, a song that allows Howard to take control of echoing effects and samples on his rig in a Radiohead-like finish.
Jason Ott took center stage on a cover of Seven Nation Army by The White Stripes, singing and pounding out the familiar bass-line while Howard showed off his slide skills.
Beadhead Crystal Bugger, a complex instrumental, closed out its set while making its world debut. The intricate composition took the boys a few weeks to learn and features some fun stop-start playing. There were no lighters in the crowd after Bugger, but the dancers in the crowd were not ready to go home. One more song was needed and it was a tribute to the fans.
Purple Trees has been a fan favorite special thanks to a spot-on Tweezer Reprise section and lots of room to jam. For good measure, tease-machine Jeff Howard threw in Another Brick in the Wall to make sure the crowd was on their toes. After a cymbal crashing, bombastic rock and roll finish, the boys seemed cool, calm and confident.
“We are more awkward off the stage than we are on it,” said Jake. “I can play for 1,000 people and have a good time, but if I had to give a speech to 10 classmates that I know, I’d freak out,” said Jason after the show.
It was a refreshing experience seeing The McLovin’s at the Brooklyn Bowl. The venue had a certain energy that oozed a sense of amusement from all ends. These high schoolers strolled in to NYC and acted like they owned the place. And they did.
E. Purple Trees