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Fruit Bats - Horseshoe - Wed. Mar. 24

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I'm obviously deeply attached to the Fruit Bats repertoire, having not connected with a band on that level since the Hold Steady, and likely the Slip and Phish respectively. Not without reason though, Eric D. Johnson is a pre-eminent songwriter with the rare gift of being a virtuoso on all instruments possessed of a beautiful preening singing voice. To this end he reminds me of a poorer man's Jeff Lynne (ELO, Travelling Wilburys) for the distinctive high warble of his voice and his studio wizardry.

Seeing a band of musicians that could all trade instruments on a dime 'jamming' all night is fascinating. It's not to say that they weren't full out improvising and just hammering away at points but their listening skills are so top notch and their ability to toss around harmonic and rhythmic conceits so effortless that the entire listening experience is wonderfully full.

Imagine a drummer (Graeme Gibson) who can engineer, produce, play keys, drums- what does someone like this bring in terms of melodic sensibilities to the kit. Variously how does a monster bass player (and as it turns out monster keys player) like Ron Lewis bring the strength of his rhythm to his left hand on the organ. Bassist Chris Sherman was a deep bottom lock that kept a pulse throughout the night and guitar slinger and total dude Sam Wagster kept the lead guitar lines hot and tasty all night.

It's one thing to noodle away all night and lay on a ridiculous wash of effects and play more notes than you have decent ideas to follow through on - it's another to be a pre-eminent bunch of tasteful musicians playing intensely psychedelic music with far better chops, comraderie and dynamics.

The setlist was:

Flamingos

Feather Bed

Tegucigalpa

The Wind That Blew My Heart Away

Magic Hour

Blessed Breeze

Union Blanket

Little Acorn

Revolution Blues

Singing Joy To The World (Eric solo)

When U Love Somebody

Primitive Man (breaks string)

Beautiful Morning Light (Eric solo)

Ruminant Band

enc:

Canyon Girl

You Ain't Goin' Nowhere

Edited by Guest

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While I wasn't fortunate enough to be at this show, this statement I couldn't agree more with.

It's one thing to noodle away all night and lay on a ridiculous wash of effects and play more notes than you have decent ideas to follow through on - it's another to be a pre-eminent bunch of tasteful musicians playing intensely psychedelic music with far better chops, comraderie and dynamics.

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Man, what a show....I love this band! The sound was great last night. Pete(Weirdness) I would love to get a copy of your recording from last night. Are you going to post it on here or archive??? I can't wait to hear it.

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My bad I wrote down Tegucigalpa (which is clearly a 'jam' on record and stretched out hard in performance) from Eric's shorthand i.e. Goosey. I would suspect - well this is almost the end of their tour so that was likely a strong show by all measures but they had a couple of great meals (including at Caplansky's deli) and were rested and in great spirits. I would LOVE to see these guys on a festival bill where they could stretch out a bit more and collaborate with other musicians. Hillside anyone?

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... oh and everyone from Graeme (drummer, producer) to the audience was commenting how good the front of house sound was. Turns out it was done by a guy named Brian McCullough who had some interesting ideas (concurring with my notion that a recording engineer needs to be a musician as well) about intention and intuition and how being a musician helps you anticipate changes in dynamics (here meant as a shift in amplitude not overall playing interactions). It makes such a big difference having a pro mix a pro band.

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Great show last night at the Horseshoe yet again. These guys do not disappoint. The new album is fantastic. It was a full house and yet I didnt mind the fullness as much as I usually do there.

Edited by c-towns

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