I am still recovering from last weekend. Chicago was the venue, there was a bachelor party and I was in charge. A group gathered to pay homage to a dear friend. Steaks were smashed, craft beers were demolished, and humiliating headaches were shared. Being the childhood friend, I knew little about the crowd of college friends, but a special bond was formed post-destruction. While the fantastic beer selection helped bridge the gap, it was a special band from Brooklyn that brought the boys together.
The Drums played headliner to not only Saturday night at Wicker Park Fest, but also bachelor party weekend. When front man Jonathan Pierce took the stage, the atmosphere flipped and fans were zoned in. The Drums are one of those bands that seem to grow in my favor on a monthly basis. Their self-titled debut and 2011 follow-up Portamento have been heavy favorites in my rotation and the songs translated brilliantly live. I had seen the Drums last year at Lollapalooza and enjoyed them, but this time I was completely blown away.
A group of new friends traded high fives as The Drums traded songs from their two full-length releases. The crowd was huge and they were singing along throughout. Pierce maintained his charismatic persona throughout while plowing through a heavy set. The Drums delivered a magnificent setlist that kept momentum while demanding my full attention.
If He Likes It Let Him Do It
Baby That’s Not the Point
I Need a Doctor
Book of Stories
I Need Fun in My Life
What You Were
How It Ended
Let’s Go Surfing
Me and the Moon
I still can’t decide if it was the atmosphere, the bachelor party festivities, or simply The Drums, but this was the best live set that I have seen this year. The Drums offered a laid back coolness that provides the perfect soundtrack to a summer evening. While segments of our group were scattered throughout the venue, all agreed that The Drums were it. While the body continues to heal, I will spend this week diving back through The Drums catalog….they’ve earned it.
Written by Brett McGrath
Wednesday night, a new band played their first performance in Indianapolis. If I say it three times, will that make it true?
Tedeschi Trucks Band played Murat Theatre at Old National Centre for their debut Indianapolis performance. However, even the most casual modern blues fan should be familiar with the cast of characters. Critics and fans have hailed guitarist Derek Trucks, only 32, as one of the genre’s shining stars since he rose to prominence as a teenager, gigging with his uncle Butch in the Allman Brothers Band. Lead singer Susan Tedeschi is a multiple GRAMMY winner with a dedicated following of her own.
In 2010, the husband and wife duo decided to merge their respective bands to form what is now TTB. The band released their debut album Revelator, last year and swiftly won a GRAMMY for Best Blues Album. TTB is a family affair. Beyond Trucks and Tedeschi, the band also features brothers Oteil and Kofi Burbridge on bass and keyboards/flute respectively. Wednesday’s performance left attendees with much to gush about:
TTB functioned as much like a jazz ensemble as a guitar-driven blues band. The 11-piece band filled out the Murat Theatre stage with dueling drummers, horn section and backup vocalists. Each member enjoyed their time in the spotlight. Mike Mattison, former frontman of the Derek Trucks Band, offered memorable lead moments on “I Know” and “Get What You Deserve”. Kofi Burbridge left traded his post at the keys to duel with Trucks on the first few bars of DTB track “Mahjoun” before stepping back to allow the drummers to have their turn. It’s rare to see such talented musicians so willing to share in the glory.
As is the case with any traditional blues performance, TTB’s was as much about the past as the present. Though the originals provided plenty of reason for applause, so too did their cover songs. Susan Tedeschi underscored her strength as a lead singer on her hair-raising rendition of Bobby “Blue” Bland’s “That Did It.” The song was a far cry from the restrained version that Bland laid down so many years ago. Derek and the boys played one of the most original takes of “Rollin’ and Tumblin’” that I can recall, offering a bouncy, Spanish-tinged rendition that was worlds removed from the track that Robert Johnson made famous. TTB also made Harry Nilsson’s classic “Everybody’s Talkin’” their own, with Trucks content to riff chords beneath Tedeschi’s powerful pipes.
I’ve spent the better part of the last year doing my damnedest to uncover up-and-coming or unheard artists for the readers of this blog. The process of discovering new music is thrilling, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. After a while, it becomes easy to forget what a seasoned, road-tested group of pros sounds like. Wednesday night showcased a band that rarely misses a beat. They know which buttons to push and when to drive the audience into a frenzy. Trucks did nothing to disprove my belief that he deserves discussion as one of the planet’s premier guitarists, and the musicians standing behind him were deserving of the honor.
As much as I enjoyed Wednesday night’s show, even the sweetest moments were paired with a hefty dose of bitterness. It was impossible for me to look up at the Murat Theatre stage without the reminder that this band replaced one of my favorites. Some of the best moments of my college career were spent getting my face melted by Derek Trucks Band. I was in the audience at Chicago’s Park West when they recorded what would be their final live album Roadsongs.
I love Harry Nilsson, but I miss those moments of Derek diving headlong into traditional Indian ragas like “Sahib Teri Bandi” and “Maki Madni.” The simple fact remains that Derek Trucks Band would not have been playing at Murat Theatre on Wednesday. They struggled to fill The Vogue the last time they were in town. Trucks appears content in his current role, and I have no doubt that the rigorous touring schedule is more tolerable when the family can travel as a unit. Maybe one day I’ll come to appreciate TTB in the same way that I did DTB. For now, though, the wounds are still too fresh, the memories still too clear. I still want my band back.
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Written by Rob Peoni
Photograph by Matt Beuoy
All too rarely in life, do we encounter surpassed expectations. When was the last time somebody really wowed you, went well beyond any reasonable bar you had set? When those moments come, it’s best not to speak. No need to jinx an otherwise blissful experience. It’s best to stay quiet and soak that pure satisfaction deep within, for however brief a time it may last.
Surpassed expectations were offered up in spades in the bowels of the Old National Centre last night. Deluxe, the latest addition to the historic Indianapolis venue, played host to a basement party that won’t be forgotten by attendees any time in the near future. Established Philadelphia outfit Dr. Dog offered the crowd a relentless set of songs that spanned the best of the band’s six LP’s. The evening was as much a celebration of 2008 breakthrough Fate as the newer material.
Up-and-coming indie act GIVERS brought the room to a sizzle early in the evening. The Laffayette, Louisiana natives played a high energy set, driven by bombastic rhythms and the magnetic appeal of singers Tiffany Lamson and Taylor Guarisco. The band delivered upon the strength of their 2011 debut In Light. Lamson rotated her duties between ukelele, percussion and vocals – adding textures at every step. Guarisco’s play on guitar, though spastic, was more impressive than I had expected, playing with a speed and agility influenced as much by afrobeat as indie rock. Unfortunately, the strings were largely drowned out by the drums, my lone complaint from the opener. By the time the band left the stage, the pulse of the room had quickened and a growing crowd of listeners had converted to fans.
Philly’s finest, Dr. Dog, hit the stage shortly thereafter with a couple dozen balloons in tow, signaling the start of their traveling party. And a party it was. Rather than force feed the audience a setlist of tracks from their latest effort Be the Void, Dr. Dog provided fans with a history lesson. They rolled through a non-stop stream of highlights that underscored the strength of the band’s formidable catalog. The audience repaid the gesture with raucous applause, sweat-drenched dancing and informed call and response throughout.
I lost count of the number of songs, but it had to approach 20 or more. Dr. Dog kicked things off with a few tracks from Be the Void, with the audience chiming in loudly during the blues driven “Lonesome” and bouncy “That Old Black Hole.” The band never glanced back. Personal highlights included lead guitarist Scott McMicken’s signature squeal on “The Rabbit, The Bat and The Reindeer”, “Unbearable Why”, and “Do the Trick.” Bassist Toby Leaman carried his share of the vocal load, offering up memorable moments on “Shame, Shame”, “Hang On” and new track “Vampire.”
In reality, missteps were hard to come by. The set, though loud and a bit muddled at times, was solid top to bottom. Though Dr. Dog covered the gamut, the strength of their catalog speaks to the fact that there were still a few missing tracks that I would have loved to hear. Most notably, the omission of new single “How Long Must I Wait?”. But you won’t hear any complaints from me. I would go back to Deluxe tonight and start the whole thing over again.
Written by Rob Peoni