Next up! Spooktacular!

Monday, May 23, 2011

the terrible twos...

It's been two years and 80 something shows later and this train just keeps rolling on. 2 years ago I wandered into Granby Memorial High School to catch The Concert For Hope and see a band who had kept popping up on my radar for weeks.
This was my review of that first show and everything I said back then still holds true, this band is lightning in a bottle. We're now just days away from the start of the summer tour season and another whirlwind run through New England, the band is hitting a number of local stops this summer as well as the usual festival stops. Catch this band while you can, they are on an upward arc, and this scene is about to blow up.

Friday, May 20, 2011

I feel it cold and warm...the shadows start to fall.

I was talking to my daughter the other day and the inevitable subject of new music came up, I find we're constantly trying to turn each other onto the new, the odd, and the different.. the more underground, the better. This time of year I always reflect back on Ian Curtis and the lost promise of Joy Division. By my junior year in high school my musical palette was fairly well formed, always catching the local monsters Max Creek, I was a huge Deadhead, though the typical '70s era band were well represented. Led Zep, Jeff Beck, Floyd, Deep Purple, Hendrix, The Who and their ilk made up the remainder of my listening, though by 1979 there came a siren call from across the Atlantic.

In 1979 the post-punk
revolution had thundered in; full force along with the new-wave/no wave sound. The Clash, The Jam and Gen-X and were its kings, but none held the fascination for me that Joy Division did. Here was a band mentioned in whispers and scant notices, an anomaly; their album art was stark and moody as was their music. At the center of this mysterious group was guitarist and vocalist, Ian Curtis, an ex-navy family man, prone to epileptic seizures who would dance like a broken dervish, arms and legs akimbo as he poured out tortured lyrics backed up by the most amazing band.

Keeping track of this UK band meant trips down to Capitol Records in Hartford to pick up the newest import singe and perusing copies of The Trouser Press. This band was the first that I could claim as my own.. I felt I had discovered this dark jewel, an unknown pleasure as it were. On May 18 1980, the flight of Joy Division crashed to earth with the suicide of Ian Curtis, though like a phoenix, the surviving members of the band rose again as New Order, we had lost something great and something special. In this era of youtube and facebook, it's so easy to familiarize yourself with a band and even I take this ease for granted, but back then it was much harder to do. The death of the rock idol had become almost a parody of itself in the late 1960's and '70's, Hendrix, Brian Jones, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, the list went on and on, but to me, here was a contemporary, in a sense a loss I couldn't help but take a little more personally.

As I type this I can't help but feel a bit anachronistic, as though trying to recapture a lost time, a time that really didn't exist even back then, a flimsy bubble of life in motion. We can't take any of this for granted, for the future is a propellant, pushing us forward and whether we notice it or not, we have to stop and take a breath..

..this is the way, step inside....

Monday, May 16, 2011

They've created a devastating masterpiece..

Saturday night saw The McLovins pull into Albany and in what has been their theme all year; it was a take no prisoners throw down. Co-headlining with the Albany collective COUNCIL FIRE, The band turned in a forceful 85 minute set, including a wild 23 minute opus that stands alongside the “TWEEZER REPRISE” of Nateva as the finest encores ever played by the band.

The first set started off on a high note with the band’s newest composition, the heady CLOSE TO THE LINE, featuring some awe inspiring bass pedal work from Jason. This number leads right into SEA OF WISDOM which has re-entered the bands repertoire and emerged as a first-set stunner, lyrical and blithe while still retaining a visceral intensity, a nice bridge between the more raucous tunes and the band’s melodic ballads. 357 has been used as a spicy bridge leading into QUIET KINGS but here it’s a stand-alone instrumental and sets up an incendiary version of TOKYO TEA. CARAVAN follows with a snaky and loose intro jam, again a nice balance of force and melody, leading right into the always welcome DEEP MONSTER TRANCE.

For me, the real strength of the band since the first of the year has been the set-list construction. Whether playing a 2 set gig, or a 60 to 90 minute set, the set lists have to be the x-factor of 2011. The balance of dynamics within the set has been flawless this year, sometimes it’s a slow build to a final knockout punch, or a series of plateaus before a final climax; this year’s show share a common consistency. The slower ballads or more patient songs balance the frenetic moments leaving the audience with a much richer experience; sometimes less is more and the band has learned this. It’s a testament to the growth of The McLovins that they have learned to harness their catalog and realize that song placement is now more important than ever.

DEEP MONSTER TRANCE set the table for the second half of this epic set, a mammoth 15 minute funk journey bringing the energy level right back up and leading into the cooling chill down of MON AMI. This song is a twisty romping, rollicking number with signature Mclovins tempo and tone changes; a true delight. TETOP showcases Jason and Jake’s vocals, and the closing number BEAD HEAD CRYSTAL BUGGER was a prog masterpiece highlighted by some insane Jeff Howard guitar pyrotechnics.

This was an above average show that was quickly tipped over into the legendary category when the band was given another half-hour stage time, and as usual, they made the most of it. All that had happened so far during the show was to be eclipsed by the next 23 minutes as the band unleashed without a doubt their finest jamming piece in the past year. You have to go back to the Barn Show in October of ’09 to find another example of the kind of fearless and bold improvisation backed up with rock solid pocket jamming.

I’ve listened to the show 3 times now, and each time the TWEEZER REPRISE transitions into SHAKEDOWN I get chills... it doesn’t get any better than this, this band is weaponized right now, they’re focused, hungry and on point. I can’t believe it’s just May and the summer is barely here and they’re in this mode this early... Saturday night at Infinity Hall should be a superb show... but for now, listen to this one until your ears ring... it’s a devastating masterpiece indeed.

The McLovins - Jilians Of Albany 05/14/11

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Saturday night at Jillians...

Saturday May 14th The McLovins will play a twin-bill with Council Fire at Jillians Of Albany. The McLovins will take the stage @ 8:00 and should be going off on time, so doors open at 7:00 make sure you get there early. Also a big thank you to Glow Stick Wars, time to make it rain!

check 'em out..

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day...

I wrote about Mother's Day last year, and to be honest, much has changed this year, but still the theme has stayed the same. Your Mom is your harshest critic and your unflagging champion. All your work is a masterpiece in her eyes.. she is the rule by which all other women will be measured in your life. You grow up to be the man your mother made you. Happy Mother's Day to all Moms and all we can say is thank you and we love you.