Tea Leaf Green cruised through Charlottesville last Thursday night and tore threw two sets of loud, sweaty, guitar-driven rock’n’roll. I hadn’t seen TLG for at least three or four years, so it was cool to re-connect and see how they’ve matured…and matured they have. While they stayed true to their song-driven brand of stretched-out bluesy rock, their sound was more focused than I remember and their confidence was palpable.
Review, photos, and video after the jump…
Tea Leaf Green tends to focus on feel-good, groove-oriented rock’n’roll. I’d say that they fall squarely into the jamband category, but rather than really jam out the improv sections of every tune, they tend to stretch songs within their normal structure. They also jump from one tune to the next to keep up the energy and momentum. It’s a strategy that works pretty well for them, and one they employed nicely in their 1st set on Thursday night. First set highlights included the straight-forward party rock of “Morning Sun,” “If It Wasn’t For the Money” with a sweet opening riff, and a choice cover of the Band’s “Ophelia.”
Their second set highlighted a bit more of their improv chops, with songs being stretched into more experimental territory. Highlights for me were their disco-funk vamp “the Invasion,” and a seriously groove-heavy “Devil’s Pay” and “Sex in the 70s.” Josh Clark plays a mean guitar, and plays a lot of it. He has nicely captured a bit of Trey Anastasio’s soaring tone, but his playing is more raucous and reminiscent of your standard late 60s/early 70s rock gods. On keys, Trevor Garrod found some nice spaces to play with his midi keyboard, setting more of an electronic feel and adding a little bit of the more of the experimental sound I was hoping to hear. Unfortunately, it is that more experimental side that TLG didn’t really give me enough of during this show. There were a few exceptions to this trend during the show, but overall Tea Leaf Green’s songs don’t really push the envelope for me.
Then again, maybe their shows are not really meant to push the envelope as much as I expected. Simple, feel-good rock’n’roll certainly has its place, especially when you add lots of beer and a rowdy crowd. And the folks at the Satellite definitely ate it up. Read on for more photos and some video clips…
The fine folks over at the Butter Room grabbed a few segments on video and also offered a brief review of the show. Here’s a nice version of TLG covering the Band’s “Ophelia” and a pretty kickass “The Devil’s Pay > Sex in the 70s” segment:
Set 2: Ride Together > Red Ribbons > Lil Hood, Earth and Sky, The Invasion > The Devil’s Pay > Sex in the 70’s, Can’t Get High, Precious Stone, Country Seduction
Encore: Rattlin’, Rapture