A Tea Leaf Monsoon batters the Carolinas

Three days, two bands, two states, and three shows.

That was the scene when New Monsoon and Tea Leaf Green, two acts from San Francisco, made their way across the country to the Carolinas.  Playing together on one night and separately on the surrounding days, it was a great few days of music.

Tea Leaf Green kicked things off with a show at the Pour House in Charleston, South Carolina on Thursday, March 15.  They played two full sets, hitting all eras of Tea Leaf-dom.

The first set opened with a big segue, starting with "Looking West," moving into the anthem off of Taught to be Proud, "Ride Together."  The jam made its way to Woody Guthrie's "Hard Travelin'" and then back to "Ride Together."   Later, the instrumental "Franz Hanzerbeak" was the meat in a "Panspermic De-evolution" sandwich.

 

 

 

"I Got No Friends in Arizona," started the second set, which went instrumental with "Georgie P."  The band went back to Midnight on the Reservoir, with "Papa's in the Backroom" which segued into "Death Cake," that moving into "Dragonfly," before closing the set with two offerings from TTBP, "Pretty Jane" and the title track.  The show closed with "Criminal Intent > If It Wasn't for the Money."

The next night, Tea Leaf Green crossed the border to the other Carolina, meeting up with fellow San Fran act New Monsoon in Charlotte at the Neighborhood Theater.

New Monsoon is currently touring as a five-piece, as percussionists Brian Carey and Rajiv Parikh both take time off the road to be with their families and respective new babies.  The result is a Monsoon of a different sort; gone is the world music vibe that Carey and Parikh brought to the table.  In its place, a more rock-and-roll vibe.

The band immediately showed it, opened the show with the wailing guitar and pounding drums of "On the Sun."  The tempo slowed down a during "Song for Marie" but it ended with a great guitar solo from Jeff Miller.  "Water Vein" showed the band's bluegrass side, and the band shined.

"Greenhouse" had catchy, fun lyrics, and "Romp" featured some great playing on banjo by Bo Carper.  "Copper Mine" is some good 'ol southern rock, with hard driving guitar and great lyrics. 

"Double Clutch" was filled with guitar riffs and chords that lead into some heavy improvisation from all the band members, including a great bass solo from Ron Johnson, and segued into "Another Night in Purgatory."  "Bridge of the Gods" ended New Monsoon's set.

Tea Leaf Green is known for its great lyrics, solid vocals, and excellent guitar playing.  They started the night off with the melodic "Garden (Part I)," emphasizing Trevor Garrod's keyboard, and then Josh Clark put his stamp on the "The Garden (Part III)" when he let loose with a great guitar solo.  The second part of the Garden trilogy, the aptly-named "The Garden (Part II)," started off with a jam that sounded like Shakedown Street and quickly morphed into a psychedelic keyboard groove and the night's first stand-out guitar solo.  "7th Story" segued into "Morning Sun " to bring the tempo and energy level up to leave the crowd buzzing before the set break.

"Incandescent Devil " opened the second set and featured the harmonica playing ability and excellent singing of Trevor Garrod, then moved into a phenomenal Jezebel, replete with great improvisation, wailing guitar, high notes on the keys, and pounding drums. 

One of the highlights followed, as the band left Trevor alone on stage for a solo rendition of "I've Got a Truck" and the Grateful Dead’s "Brokedown Palace." 

The night's next great jam came shortly thereafter, as New Monsoon’s Jeff Miller and Phil Ferlino joined Tea Leaf Green for a great rendition of "Criminal Intent," filled with lots of hard hitting, heavy rock guitar solos and improvisational riffs from the keyboards.

 

 

Things slowed down with the beautiful lyrics of the gently-sung "These Two Chairs," while "Bouncin’ Betty" featured some great rock vocals and with that, Tea Leaf Green closed out the set.  The band encored with the exceptional rock instrumental "Franz Hanzerbeak."

New Monsoon and Tea Leaf Green parted ways in Charlotte, with the former heading across the border to Charleston and the Pour House.

St. Patrick's Day had the freaks out en masse, and the Pour House was packed with revelers.  New Monsoon had the stage to themselves, and over the course of the night, celebrated the holiday with their brand of rock.

The show opened with the high-paced "Patato's Mission" before delving into their latest release, The Sound, with "Dark Perimeter." 

"Southern Dew" was downright nasty and exactly like its name – it easily could have come from the songbook of the Allman Brothers, the quintessential "Southern" band.  Jeff Miller's electric guitar and Carper's acoustic took turns soloing before meeting back to intertwine as the song came to an end.  The set closed with the frenetic "Traveling Gypsies," and the band left the stage for a quick breather.

"Bottle of Red Wine," made famous by Eric Clapton, opened the second set.  "Greenhouse" was phenomenal, and there was a great bluegrass jam that led into "Velvet Pouch."  

Miller's guitar and Carper's banjo kicked off "Rattlesnake Ride" and the band broke into a full-on jam with a mouse-eared Marty Ylitalo's kick drum keeping a steady beat as Ferlino's keyboards kicked in to pepper the song with faint hints of the Middle East.  While the song was great, it definitely was one of the areas where what Carey and Parikh bring to the table were missed.

 

 

 

After "Rock Springs Road" and "En Fuego," the band adjourned before returning for an encore of "Stagger Lee" and "Blast."  With that, the New Monsoon St. Patty's Day celebration came to an end.

All in all, the Carolinas were given a taste of some of the best San Francisco has to offer over three great nights, in two states, by two bands.

 

Proceed to photo galleries & set lists with the link below{mospagebreak} 

 

Tea Leaf Green, Charleston, South Carolina at the Pour House, 3/15/07

Set 1: Looking West > Ride Together > Hard Travelin' > Ride Together, Gasaholic, One Reason, Moonshine, I'm Not Fit, Panspermic De-evolution > Franz Hanzerbeak > Panspermic De-evolution, Piss It Away, The Garden (Part III)

Set 2: I Got No Friends in Arizona, Sex in the 70's > Hot Dog, Faced with Love, Georgie P, Papa's in the Backroom > Death Cake > Dragonfly, Pretty Jane, Taught to be Proud

Encore: Criminal Intent > If It Wasn't for the Money

 

 

Photos by:

Tea Leaf Green, 3/15:  John Smoak, smoakstackstudios.com

Tea Leaf Green/New Monsoon, 3/16: Brad Kuntz, www.pbase.com/ratsnest74

New Monsoon, 3/17: Josh Mintz, photosbyjosh.com  

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