Facebook R&B crooner Mario has been relatively quiet on the music front for…
- Posted on Mar 23rd 2010 11:30AM by Tim Lowery
"So there's radness afoot," he continued, laughing at himself with a very laidback-dude air about him. "Been on the West Coast too long, man. On that note, here's a song about a f---ing canyon," he said before strumming the opening chords to the catchy 'Canyon Girl,' off 2005's 'Spelled in Bones.'
As the evening progressed, however, the interesting thing about Fruit Bats' current live sound became not so much where they were from but from what musical period they were inspired by. With a set heavy on songs from last year's 'The Ruminant Band,' which marked the first time Johnson let his band organically fill in most of the music themselves, the set was loose, seemingly improvisational and very reminiscent of the early '70s. Whether it was the gospel-infused, slowed-down grooves of set opener 'Flamingo,' the Allman Brothers-like guitar jamming at the end of 'Tegucigalpa' (which prompted a few concertgoers to dance in ways rarely seen outside a jam-band show) or the warm sing-along 'Feather Bed,' the most recent record has apparently pushed the band's live sound to be more Dr. Dog than the Shins, a group Johnson is still a member of.
Further driving home the night's '70s vibe, Johnson and company covered gems from that era like Neil Young's 'Revolution Blues,' Harry Nilsson's 'Jump Into the Fire' and Richard Thompson's 'Beat the Retreat.'
Two times during the set -- during 'Singing Joy to the World' and 'Beautiful Morning Light' -- Johnson basically played solo, proving he could sound amazing, with or without a fantastic band backing him up.