As I’ve said before on here and over on my blog, I don’t review shows properly. I’ll try my best to put a spin on what I’ve seen or capture the atmosophere of what was goin’ down, but live music is the most subjective aspect of life. And I’ve never quite understand why anyone would attempt to review what they’ve just seen for people who can’t possibly experience it through the same central nervous system.
Nine times out of 10, I’ll take a “duuude” or a “kickass” or an “awesome” over the headier-than-thou babble critics like to spew. So I won’t waste time here describing the San Francisco quartet, Tea Leaf Green, or even recap the events of Saturday night. But I will say, and I emphasize this, these guys rock. Hard. They really have “it” — they genuinely possess that elusive quality that takes a band from simply talented to truly special.
Selling out the main space of NYC’s Knitting Factory, TLG didn’t take a single song off on Saturday night. They nailed every well-written tune and jammed them out to the fullest: They went on stage at midnight, took a brief setbreak and continued to energize the raucous crowd until 3:30 in the morning. They’re excellent song-writers, they’re interesting performers, they’re retardedly deft at their instruments and they understand how to put on a show. They really get it. They definitely have it.
It’s damn near impossible to pin these guys down and pigeonhole them into one specific category of music. They’re not a typical jamband, but I would disagree with those who say they don’t jam. I’m not trying to be cute by saying that, I just feel like the words “jam” and “jamband” don’t mean the same thing. After seeing these guys this weekend, I’d say they jam out every song, but unlike most other young jambands, thankfully, they don’t “noodle” and waste my time. Their jams “rock,” and they rock hard. They push the pedal to the floor and they don’t stop until the tank’s on empty. The only thing holding these guys back are the vocals, but they’re not quite that bad. They’re just hit or miss, some people will like ’em, some just won’t. I, for one, walked out thinking these guys were flawless.
As I said to my buddy during setbreak, if I were an 18-year-old college kid again with no real concern for the outside world as it is, I’d follow these guys all over my region and track their progress closely. And that was before the amazing second set they threw down. I guess the best compliment I can give TLG is this: I haven’t been so impressed by a band the first time I saw them since those four dorks from Vermont I sometimes like to mention.
So go see these guys when they hit your town. Just prepare to be blown away by what you see and hear.
Knitting Factory setlist — 9/10/05
Set 1: The Garden (Part III), Bootlegger, Asphalt Funk, Taught to Be Proud, If It Wasn’t for the Money, Ride Together, I Believe, Georgie P, The Garden (Part II), Death Cake
Encore: I’ve Been Seeking, Who Am I (What’s My Name)?**, Baseball Song, I’ve Got a Feeling***
Some TLG Media
1. High Sierra Late Night set (6/30/05 — setlist, individual songs)
2. Mystic Theatre in Petaluma (3/11/05 — setlist, indiv. songs)
3. Most recent, Binn’s Park in PA (9/8/05 — setlist, indiv. songs)
Here’s a sampler site that some guy on PT put together. Thanks, guy.