Mishawka Amphitheatre & Tipitina’s Uptown
Bellevue, CO & New Orleans, LA
August 5 & 20, 2011
Bellevue, CO (By Brad Hodge)
Super group Stockholm Syndrome launched its rather extensive tour with a stop at one of Colorado’s most beautiful venues, Mishawaka. Surrounded by canyon walls alongside the Poudre River, the rustic wooden timber stage provides music fans with one of the most enjoyable venues in the state and possible the country.
The evening’s show was opened by local favorites the Sam Holt Band.Â Joined by friends from a few familiar projects, Holt and friends opened the night with a great set.Â Adam Stern played pedal steel most of the evening and Tori Pate joined Holt on guitar and vocals.
As the stars of the night took to the stage, they immediately jumped head first into a nice “Tight.”Â Jerry Joseph and Eric McFadden seemed to have found a nice dichotomy between guitars. While two very boisterous personalities behind the axes could easily could step all over one another, McFadden and Joseph possess an ability to seamlessly trade off the lead that is perpetually bouncing between the two talents.
The country tinged “Leaving Lopez” followed with its rollicking attitude and continued tasty guitar work that also came complete with substantially more organ insertion, courtesy of Danny Louis.
To witness the musical exchanges between the talented players was a sight to behold in and of itself. Throughout the night, the reigns could be handed off to Louis on keys, or to the aforementioned guitar duo of McFadden or Joseph.
Of course all of this fails to mention the rhythm section of Dave Schools (bass) and Wally Ingram (drums) that held down the entire fort with tightly synchronized play.
Serving as a highlight of the evening, the cover of Climax Blues Band’s “Couldn’t get it Right” — with its light poppy sound coupled with danceable grooves — seemed to be the most familiar to the crowd, and really got things moving.
Though many would cry foul at the duration of the show, the last three songs of the evening were certainly a passion-filled way to close out the evening with a bang. “Bouncing Very Well,” “Conscious Contact” and the soul-stirring “Road to Damascus” took us out into the night… providing a great ending to a nice night… but with all the effort to get to the out-of-the-way venue, it would have been nice to have two sets to recall on the long ride home.
New Orleans, LAÂ (By Frank Etheridge)
Strong in seasoned delirium and boosted by the giddiness that only comes from clockin’ out, gettin’ paid and headin’ home, Stockholm Syndrome revealed themselves — in only their third-ever New Orleans show — on the heels of a sweltering week traversing the Deep South by bus in August.
Driven by superb musicianship on all five counts, the sustainable supergroup is capable of full-tilt jams, while remaining undeveloped enough to have several clunkers in the rotation and adventurous enough to pull off calypso and reggae.
Though any Stockholm room inevitably has its share of star-fuckers that come out just to see Dave Schools or Jerry Joseph because of the Widespread Panic connection(s), they do so at their own peril. Â For in so doing, they miss out on the bright and shining star in Eric McFadden (Keb Mo’, Les Claypool, George Clinton’s P-Funk All Stars), a brilliant guitarist whose impressive resume and craftsmanship far outweigh name-recognition (thus far in his career) that should reach Slash-scale fame and riches through virtues of licks and riffs that are equally as powerful and poetic.
With all members locked in from the opening “Apollo” onward, this NOLA Uptown Saturday night was a rollicking, reassuring good time.
In an interview before the show, Schools described his long-time collaborator Joseph’s songwriting process as “literally producing melodies and word combinations from the ether.” “It’s magical,” he said, “and I don’t like using the word magical often. But watching him do his thing, it’s amazing.” While there are many examples of such Joseph alchemy, a glimpse into his genius came in the second tune of the evening, “Empire One.”
An abstraction of Bush II-era zeitgeist from Stockholm Syndrome’s debut 2004 album, Holy Happy Hour,Â Joseph shares: “Maybe I don’t believe / Maybe I’m pretending I got bones swept under the rug / Hold my hand / As we march into / A beautiful sun.” Heady stuff for sure, but it also served as the perfect vehicle for McFadden to delve deep inside to render wild, distorted solos in a frenetic finish.
Drummer Wally Ingram pushed the tempo into the punkish “Tarantula Hawk” and the show proceeded along with some good jams and scattered lame moments until a grooving bass solo (with a “Wharf Rat” tease) by Schools slapped the crowd awake as he taunted “C’mon, don’t stop” and “C’mon Tipitina’s, you can do better.” All of this, of course, came in “Who Dat!” chant form and Tips was suddenly a proverbial Theatre of the Absurd… a silly but badass moment for all to enjoy.
The band next returned to deliver a take on the Grateful Dead’s “He’s Gone.”
It is so easy to hate Dead covers these days and usually for good reason. Some are awful; others should die by lethal injection. But a slow version of a terrific tune that didn’t try too hard to capture its original, “He’s Gone” (as played by Stockholm Syndrome) was highlighted with the heartfelt vocally harmonized refrain of “ooh…ooh…ooh…and nothin’s gonna take him back.” This sweetness also served as the tripper of the rage switch — at a time when holy lands burn once again — into Joseph’s fiery classic, “Road to Damascus.”
It may be just amusing folly to ponder deeper meanings to, and expressions from, Stockholm Syndrome, a band that Schools has insisted “isn’t just some side-project.” But here they are in 2011, a bedlam creating regularly touring band and consistently crafting art.
Now better in sync and of seemingly shared purpose, Stockholm Syndrome strikes an imposing shadow as it dances in bliss along the edge of the abyss, free-floating on forces of love and fury, exalted in a “take it or leave it” ethos and content with “rinse and repeat” commands.Â Or maybe it’s as simple of a transaction as a goodbye found when, after a final thunderous thumb-thump on the bass, Schools waves and gently bids adieu, “Hope y’all had as much fun as we had.”
CLICK THE THUMBNAIL TO VIEW THE PHOTOS from the Shows By Brad Hodge & Jeffrey Dupuis
Tight, Leaving Lopez, Couldn’t Get It Right, In Your Cups, Crime & Punishment, Sing Bird Sing, Emma’s Pissed > That Which is Coming, Bouncing Very Well, Conscious Contact, Road to Damascus
To doenload an audience recording of this show, click here.
Apollo, Empire One, Tarantula Hawk, Emmaâ€™s Pissed, Couldnâ€™t Get It Right, Hanging Moon, Fools Rush In, Purple Hearts, Bouncing, Heâ€™s Gone (Grateful Dead cover), Road to Damascus
To download an audience recording of this show, click here.