Tea Leaf Green is no stranger to jamming out. The act take its shit seriously, and when the San Francisco band took the stage at the Bluebird, it got right down to business. The only greeting was by way of the strum of their guitars and the beat of their drums. The beautiful vocals of Reed Mathis, Josh Clark, and Trevor Garrod came together in one big harmonious ball of awesome. The harmonizing between the trio is unmistakably hypnotizing.
See also: - Tea Leaf Green's Reed Mathis on how improv is a spiritual discipline and an emotional art - The ten best concerts in Denver this week - Review + photos: Velvet Acid Christ at Casselman's, 2/9/13
As promised in our recent interview with Reed Mathis, the band did no new songs, and instead stuck strictly to the crowd pleasers -- and the crowd was suitably pleased, dancing feverishly to songs like "All Washed Up," which sounds like it could've been taken right out of a '60s detective sitcom.
The guys moved poetically from song to song and didn't skip a note, only slowing the pace slightly with "5000 Acres." The smooth lyrics and twang of the guitar quickly put people into a slow sway. "Kali-Yuga" has a very Phish feel to it -- and with this crowd, that seemed to be the right sound.
Although we can't get enough of the vocals of Mathis, Clark and Garrod, we'd be remiss if we didn't mention the drummers. You know a band is cool when they have two sets of drums, and these two drummers (Cochrane McMillan and Scott Rager) know how to rock. The song "Sleep Paralysis" got the crowd going crazy. And why not? Everybody knows when you sing about being "sad and fucked up," it's always a crowd pleaser.
As solid as Tea Leaf Green's original songs were, none of them held a candle to the wicked-awesome covers the act played. "With or Without You" was nothing short of perfect. The harmonies fit the lyrics to the song had everybody entranced, as did the outfit's take on R.E.M.'s "It's the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)." The energy was oozing out the doors, by the time the act dialed up its final cover, the "Final Countdown" by Europe. It was epic -- and ironic, we're assuming.
The openers, Tumbleweed Wanders, matched the shaggy hair of Tea Leaf Green and their sound was similar, only not as refined. The band got the crowd started with some sweet harmonica on "Take It Back," and kept the momentum going with sweet, sweet vocals and mad banjo playing skills that proved to be the perfect way to open this laid back show.
Songs like "No Longer Waiting," "Roll With the Times" and "So Long Blues" set the tone of the night, and in keeping with the covers to come, the group's version of Dusty Springfield's "Son of A Preacher Man" was pitch-perfect. Tumbleweed Wanderers have a nice rhythm, and their harmonica makes their songs Bob-Dylan-beautiful.
Personal Bias: This show sadly confirmed that I still have a thing for big hair, neon, mesh and '80s bands.
Random Detail: Two hot drummers are always better than one.
By the Way: If the weekend before Valentines found you alone and wondering if it's okay to buy yourself half-price boxes of chocolates on Friday -- you know, just so you have some? -- Tea Leaf Green offered exactly the right level of heartbreaky to both commiserate and make the world seem a little brighter.
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