Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Tea Leaf Green concert review, Paradise Rock Club, 2/6/10

Tea Leaf Green can play many different ways – well-written songs, powerful rock and roll, dirty funk, loose jams, and sometimes all these at once – making its live show a potentially different experience every time. The band’s last two albums, 2005’s Taught To Be Proud and their 2008 effort Raise Up The Tent has seen a trend away from the earlier, longer jams of its first three records and towards a more concise, well-developed songwriting style. Saturday night at the Paradise Rock Club reflected this evolution.

That being said, Tea Leaf hasn’t dropped the early songs from its set lists and an early “Freedom” showcased guitarist Josh Clark at his apex. Equally at home digging into heavy metal or bouncing around a bluegrass tune, Clark’s versatility is a big part of what makes this band tick. With “Freedom,” Clark was able to take over the jam and build it to a high-intensity climax before the band switched gears into the earnest ballad “Faced With Love.”

“Faced With Love” echoes another aspect of the band, in that the song doesn’t appear on any of their studio albums. While most bands use studio albums to showcase and fine-tune its best songs, they are used as mainly just benchmarks for Tea Leaf Green, and its catalog of songs is so extensive that “Freedom” was the only song in the first set that has ever been recorded in the studio and released.

Midway through the first set the band took the show into uncharted territory with a cache of new songs. “Without A Broom,” “Oklahoma Home” and “Cottonwood Tree” were all part of the trend toward shorter and more focused songs that Tea Leaf seems to be embracing. The buoyant, energetic “Cops Took My Weed” was a fun romp through some lighthearted storytelling by keyboardist and singer Trevor Garrod.

The second set followed a similar trend to the first, with an absolute blow out of a jam in “Wet Spot” > “Invasion” > “Wet Spot” before settling back into more of a stop-start, song after song approach. “Jackson Hole,” another new song, preceded the feel-good “Papa’s In The Backroom” before crowd favorite “The Garden (Pt. III)” brought the show back to the level of intensity achieved during “Wet Spot.” “Incandescent Devil” showcased Garrod’s impressive harmonica skills as he stood on his keyboard stool to deliver his solo.

The encore of “Morning Sun” with guitarist Rusty Kelly from opening band Elmwood was another high-energy romp and served to underline the theme of the show. While some of the experimental and exploratory jams were missing from the set list, Tea Leaf Green’s multiple personalities and wide-ranging abilities assure that no show is ever a bad one.

- Dan Rys


MoonArt Design said...

Right on brother.
Can't forget that Nate Wilson of the Nate Wilson Group stopped by as well to play the keys for a song now can we?

Either way, that show rocked!! 100 times more energetic than last year!


Mark said...

Hey, that really sounds interesting. I'd like to go to one of his concerts... I've heard he makes great music and he loves Kamagra Jelly also.