Blitzen Trapper at MHoW. Photo by Julia Lovallo.
The last sad embers of my adolescent punkhood tend to glow uncomfortably hot whenever I find myself enjoying a band that I know my parents would dig, and they were lit up pretty bright on Saturday when I caught the second of Blitzen Trapper’s two nights in NYC at the Music Hall. The Portland folk-rockers have a penchant for most things seventies, and there wasn’t a song in the set that Papa Mushett couldn’t have listened to while downing Schlitz back in ’74. Singer Eric Earley is as proficient at channeling Dylan live as he is on the record, a talent that was especially apparent when he gave a solo rendition of the country-folk staple “Cocaine Blues.” The rest of the band proved adept at pushing strong riffs that had more than a little Allman Brothers and Lynyrd Skynyrd mixed in, often with a touch of psychedelic synth for good measure. It’s by no means cutting-edge, but it ain’t supposed to be. The guys put on a tight, fun show and the crowd–more diverse than the often uniformly hip-as-hell set that frequents the MHoW–absolutely lost their shit when they heard the opening riff of “Furr.”
But the story of the show was its first act, Alela Diane. Alela, a wobbly-voiced gal from Nevada City, puts together music with a hallucinatory quality that wanders along a softer, more volatile edge of the same retro-folk soundscape traversed by Blitzen Trapper. Plus her mandolin player looks like a weathered, fifty-something trucker, which a definitely plus. To Be Still, her follow-up to 2006’s The Pirate’s Gospel, is out now (thanks for the correction, mcg)
due out later this year. Check it out. Plants and Animals, a perfectly fine rock outfit, had the misfortune of playing between the more impressive bookends of Alela and BT, too tough of company to put on a set that was only perfectly fine.
After the jump, a mashup of Blitzen Trapper and Biggie Smalls. Just for fun.