Tonight was another night at Live on the Green downtown. Derek Trucks, with support from Jack Pearson and Homemade Water were on the bill. After 2 full days of rain, the skies let up and gave us a beautiful night for some free music. I think the crowd might still have been a little waterlogged, because the energy was a little down for most of the night.
When I got there Homemade Water was playing. They were a run of the mill hippie jam band. The only thing that stood out to me was that the drummer didn't use sticks. He played the drums with his bare hands. I don't know what kind of statement he was trying to make but I got news for him. Dude, if you want anyone to hear your cymbals, you need to get some sticks. Also, it's hot in the summer and, oh forget it. I'm sure he has some reason for not using sticks. Saving Trees maybe? By the way, the fact that this is the only real thing that stands out about your band is not a good sign.
Jack Pearson's trio was next. He's another former Allman Brother. He was on guitar with Dickey in the 90's. I know he's a good guitar player. He's very talented. To me he was just another one of those guys who strives to play as many notes as he can without feeling any of them. I know he can play really fast, and that sounds cool and all, but with his rapid scale bursts, there was really never a continuous groove to follow and therefore no real dynamics. I know I'm not the only one thinking this because I could just see the crowd standing there like "c'mon, please give us something to dance to." Also the mix wasn't that great, making the guitar too loud, the bass to soft, and the drums kind of muddy. This was the case for most of the night, with all of the bands.
As flat lined as Pearson was, the Derek Trucks band was the complete opposite. Derek Trucks is a master of the dynamic jam. When the band kicks off a song, you could swear you're listening to your parents easy listening record collection. They lull you in with a smooth groove and then the next thing you know, Derek's taking a solo and melting your face with his SG. His playing style is more fluent. He starts off slow and builds up the jam after a minute or two. While there are still the rapid quick notes and random pauses, he makes it flow with soulful bends and more tension and release which gives you something to look forward to in the song. And then just when you think his guitar is going to shoot out sparks and explode, it's right back into the groove to finish the song. By the later portion of the show, this formula was successful in getting the crowd dancing and cheering. Jack Pearson came out for a few songs and swapped licks with Derek, drawing huge cheers from the crowd during the songs, as opposed to his set where the applause came at the end of the songs, seemingly out of obligation.
The DTB is a cool band. If you're looking for the Allman Brothers, you might be disappointed. These guys are more jazzy than southern. Although I've got to say, I'm glad the awesome keyboard player didn't bust out the flute, which I've seen him do before. We all know what the flute can do to a rock show. This show was fun, a good mix of people at a good venue. I hope this concert series goes on for the entirety of next summer and not just a few weeks.