Pulling into the idyllic village of Woodstock there is a slight feeling of deja-vu, you get the feeling that you've been here before. There is also a comfort in this rustic setting, the pleasing hippie vibe, the plethora of tie-dye, and most of all.. the smiles. Everyone we met that night had a grin, it's as if an entire town were in on a secret, it was not a secret though, Max Creek and The McLovins were in town and the jam was on.
The McLovins had opened for Max Creek in Troy New York a few months ago, and will be sharing the bill together several time this summer, so there is a bit of a comfort factor. The venue was just a dream, this being the house that Albert built, Albert Grossman's dream come true, a 300 seat venue with Radio WDST and 2 restaurants sharing a lot. Soundcheck was a breeze and the mood in the green room was light, all that mattered to the band is they were here to do a job and it was showtime.
The set went off at 9:00, and they opened up with a smooth jam that quickly escalated into a 8 minute shredder, this was a harbinger of things to come. Fan favorite Tokyo Tea was next and snaked it's way through a minefield of tempo and signature changes. Hell Yeah is off of last fall's Virtual Circle EP and this high tempo tune had the dance floor shaking. Deep Monster Trance lived up to it' s name, Jeff kept pulling the tempo back only to rush back into the mix, adding a neat texture to an already complex song.
I feel the highlight of the set was Milktoast Man as Jason moved to center stage to contribute backing vocals. This positioning of Jason so close to Jeff added another dimension to the band, the last time they used this configuration was during a set last fall at The Main Pub. Having the bass and guitar so close really raises the level of communication and playfulness, as they consistently trade off leads while Jake peals away on percussion. The earthy vibe of This Town is next, featuring Jake's most earnest lyrical delivery of the night as the song is a welcome lull to an otherwise high tempo set. 20 In A 35 is an fiery re-entry into the energy that had dominated the night, Jeff and Jason rolling over each others leads, you keep waiting for the the song to spiral out of control, but it's always drawn back to the core beat. BeadHead Crystal Bugger closes out the show with a decidedly progressive edge. This is a complex song, full of staggered time and tempo changes, and they just tear into it and just like that, the set is over.
I'm not a fan of 1 hour shows, it seems barely time enough for the band to get warmed up, but this night it was just right! Walking around after the show I saw quite a few people with the look I see frequently after McLovins shows. You see it in the eyes first, a kind of glaze, and also a grin smeared across the face and a jitter energy and frantic texting. For some of them, they've just seen an amazing band and can't wait to tell everyone about them. And for a select few, you can tell, they've just seen their favorite band for the first time, and it makes me smile because I know just how they feel.