I had a great time seeing music last night. I got out of work at 7, got home quickly and grabbed a bit of leftover Thanksgiving food, then took the long walk to ArtsRiot on Pine st. I thought the show started at 8 but it was closer to 8:30, so I had 20 minutes to settle in and chat with Brad Searles (after having to be reminded who he was, it’s been ages) and Ben Maddox.
Astrocat hit the stage as a guitar bass drums trio and rocked pretty hard. The sound ranged from mid paced indie rock to slow and sludgy almost Sabbath metal. A couple of songs had some double time speed just to mix things up a little. The drummer was steady and strong. Buck’s bass had lots of fun runs, but the real star of the show was the fuzzed out guitar. I didn’t catch too much of the lyrics as the vocal mic could have been a little higher, but everything sounded nice. The show started a little slow but soon they locked in and had a nice rock energy. When they started Cookie Jar, a really fast fun rocker, it rang a bell, so I must have seen or heard them do that at one point. It was fun to see live, as was their whole set.
I went to get another drink and ran into Sean Toohey and Ann Mindell and chatted a bit, but soon it was time for The Mountain Says No. Their heavy rock sound was blissful to my ears and soul. They opened heavy with Long Term Sermon, then eased up a bit with Who Could Say? They let loose the sludgy beginning of Iron And Metal then let it slip into full rock mode as the song progressed. They kept things at top gear with Restaurant before easing off into the weirdly mellow and sort of spooky 3,000. They followed with a new one that had a great rock sound and an eerie vibe and might have been my favorite song of the night. A majestic version of King Grifter followed, then they tossed in another killer new song. Things got a little funky with Ricky The Rider then went back to the heavy rock for Come And Decide. They closed the show with a truly stunning version of The Bomb. I was elated note for note and am still committed to the idea that if you miss a Mountain show, you really are missing something.
At this point I had certainly gotten my $5 worth, and the main band had yet to play. I don’t think I was a huge Eef back in the day, though likely caught them at some point. I didn’t really know what to expect and could not judge them on past performances or nostalgic notions. The only thing I had to go on was the band in front of me. They took the stage as a trio with Brad on drums, Michael Barrett on bass, and Jedd Kettler (doing double duty for the night) on guitar. Some of the songs had that classic early ’90’s indie “Burlington Sound”, and some were just fun punkish rock songs. They mixed new songs with classics and I really liked them all. Maleman was pretty cool. The song about making mixtapes (opened with Don’t Let’s Start and ended with Love Will Tear Us Apart) was pretty great. Around half way into the set they brought up Trevor (the rock god) from Astrocat on guitar and rocked extra hard for the rest of the night. Sugar High was fast and heavy and fun. An new one about my cat turning black suggests a mix I need to do on my next radio show. Late in the set they thanked the small but mighty audience for showing up, played one more and that was that. Nostalgia aside, it was a solid rock show from a great rock band and I loved every moment. I’m so glad I put in the effort, it was so rewarding.