American power trio flaunt antiquated, yet ever-fresh, blues rock in front of German aficionados.
Active for almost two decades, this collective failed to become a household name, but it’s not their fault – it’s just that the stuff they play is unfashionable… and eternal at the same time. And here’s a documentary evidence: a live album which captures, on two CDs and a DVD, the ensemble’s very essence – quite perfectly, evoking the venue atmosphere to an extent where one could smell beer and perspiration.
Purveying retro-styled blues and looking the part, the young artists greet the audience with a blistering six-string squeal and ragged groove of “Death Of A Queen” – the sound wondrously worn and torn, especially once Parker Griggs’ vocals enter the fray – yet the cut’s heavy funk has nuclear energy about it. While “I Just Don’t Know” picks up this relentless sonic assault and intensifies instrumental attack, visually stressed by a few close-ups of a foot working the wah-wah pedal, “Rancho Tehama Airport” deliver its razor riff with much more grace. Club setting and classic compact setup of a Fender guitar, Rickenbacker bass and Ludwig drums greatly benefit the band’s music, and when clear Delta idiom crystallizes on “250 Miles” their dynamic scope, performing prowess and emotional reach grow immensely, sending the crowd towards a sweat-soaked reverie. There’s also an acoustic solo version of it, a brief one, among bonus cuts, alongside the deadpan, if heartfelt, reading of another PG, Peter Green’s “The World Keep On Turning” and short interviews with the group.
After “Brain Cycles” hit, they whip the punters into a filigree-informed frenzy, but such a trance-induced noise will progress to pure psychedelia in “Before It Burns” as raga patterns get fed into the heady epic on the darkened and backlit stage. Still, “Deep Blue Sea” should bring some overcast calm before a new storm, for “Mistreating Queen” to rage wildly and “Gypsy Fast Woman” to let the ensemble flex their melodic muscles with all the spectacular might, until the countrified grit of “The Escape” reveals a previously unheard layer of what this trio can do. Their interplay may solidify on “No Good Woman” where unison reigns, thanks to bassist Anthony Meier and drummer Paul Marrone following Griggs’ lead, and in the end the denim-clad listeners beg for more so, having done a half of 2014’s “Magical Dirt” album and harking back to the beginning, the ensemble finish the concert with “Frustrating Sound” from their 2007 debut.
It’s a teaser, though: this show is anything but disappointing – this live report invites the uninitiated to investigate the group’s oeuvre and be fascinated.