Monday, February 20, 2012

Scud Mountain Boys - John Brodeur -- Black Cat - Feb 19 2012

John Brodeur - I am hopeful that the age old formula of one guy with an acoustic guitar and a microphone will not only provide a nice set, but offer something at least slightly unique to the formula. The sound is good, nice songwriting, yet there are some nice shifts in volume and pace that was succeeding with me in my hopes. Brodeur has a full voice and maybe is a bit on the positive side, atlhough not entirely. Still, I heard more Dan Fogelberg than Nick Drake. The songs kept coming with the same nice shifts beyond the normal cliches of singer-songwriter folk. Ultimately Brodeur reminded me a lot of Love's Bryan MacLean and some of his home recordings released after MacLean's death. Brodeur is a fine songwriter and performer and this was a nice 42 minute opener.

Scud Mountain Boys - Alt country is a term I am not fond of. Even now after hearing a 90 minute reunion show by one of the earliest bands of this style, I am still unsure of its meaning. What I heard from the four original members of this band was a rootsy Americana folk rock combination with perhaps some country touches, but not many. They formed in the unique and fertile musical city of Northampton, Massachusetts which scores some personal points with me and makes genre classifications tougher. Joe Pernice is the name most recognizable of this band and I have enjoyed the music of the Pernice Brothers in past sets. But all four members were engaging and vocals came from many places. I would like to be more specific, but thankfully this was a pretty full crowd and it was hard to see the stage with this seated band. But that did not bother me, as I simply sat back and focused on the strong music they made. They presented it in the largo side of life with grace and careful touch. There were just enough instrumentation to offer nice counterpoints, but not too much to distract from a simple pastoral feel. They upped the volume on a couple of rockier tunes. There were also many amusing stories and quips scattered throughout the set. One of the more interesting stories was that one of the guys was friends with a guy named Zapruder in New York. Turned out he was the grandson of the guy that shot the famous footage of the Kennedy assassination. What was odd that he never heard a single word of it when he was growing up and one time came running over talking about the mindblowing documentary he saw on the Kennedy assasination--Man that's fucked up!. Uh, yeah. But anyway, this was an excellent set and the crowd really enjoyed seeing these guys together again after a decade and a half. And they were treated to a triple encore of an original tune, Jimmy Webb's "Wichita Lineman" and a fascinating slow-motion "Gypsy, Tramps & Thieves".

Quote of the Night: So many, but one of the Scuds was talking about being stuck in Dayton, Ohio (where I grew up for around 18 years of life). Odd that the crowd was kind of taken aback, so he added... "Hey man, I like Dayton... but it's a daaaark place."

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