The front room at the EARL was packed early Saturday night as folks chowed down on the establishment’s tasty grub, imbibed in various beers & cocktails and socialized with friends, family and strangers. There was not a table to be had and the bar was two deep as people kept flowing in taking up every square inch of space in the joint. As soon as the back door unlocked the overcrowded front room opened up like Abdullah the Butcher’s forehead as people fled to the comfy confines in the rear for a night of music. As cigarette smoke engulfed the room it was just a matter of time before the music kicked in.
The evening began with local favorites The Quaildogs treating the packed room to a set of tunes heavy on guitar driven rock and light on the bluegrass flavor they are known for, a very pleasant surprise. They filled the set list with favorites from their EPs and songs like “Why Bother” had everyone dancing and singing along, especially that drunk dude. They tested out a few new tracks teasing their fans with what is coming down the road as they return to the studio. Highlighting their set was the song “Down” which turned into a killer jam with thunderous rhythms, killer guitar riffs and perfectly placed fiddle playing. It aided in setting the party atmosphere that enveloped the entire night. Each time I see these guys play they just keep getting better as they evolve from a good time party band to well honed musical machine. When the speakers went silent the bar was set quite high for the next two bands waiting their turn.
Taking the stage with matching rhinestone encrusted peacock feathers adorning their shirts, jackets and poncho; Nashville’s Great Peacock kept the music rolling with another kick ass set of music. These guys not only write great songs but they deliver powerful performances and Saturday night was exactly that. They rolled through tunes off of their critically acclaimed self-titled EP with a smattering of songs that are slated for a 2014 release. The pair’s trademark vocal harmonies were cocaine to the listener’s ears on tracks like “Take Me To The Mountain” and “Desert Lark” with the new track “Tennessee” stealing the show. The performance started strong and ended even stronger as the ever calm & cool Andrew Nelson & the whirling dervish Blount Floyd controlled the room playing off of one another from start to finish. I have said it before and I will say it again Great Peacock is one of the best bands out there today and you need to catch a live show.
Tedo Stone and band closed out the evening with a batch of tunes dominated by Tedo’s haunting vocals and the dual guitar attack of Stone and Clay Houle. From the opening note his set grew with intensity before exploding with a mass sing-a-long. Songs such as “Taste” and “Downtown” from his critically acclaimed debut – Good Go Bad – erupted from the speakers with raw energy while “Happy” and “Brand New” delivered all the smoothness listener’s loved from the EP. Following along with the previous bands, Tedo unveiled some new songs and from what I heard Saturday night the future is sounding damn good for Tedo and crew. They closed out the night by calling everyone back on stage for a killer version of Tom Petty’s Learning to fly. Tedo, Andrew and Blunt swapped vocals while the rest sang backing harmonies. It was a fitting end to a great night of music.
When the music finally faded no one wanted to leave as they hoped for one more song, but alas the lights flickered and the house music kicked in. Each band brought something a little different to the night Saturday and they all kicked ass. Each gave the crowd what they wanted jamming all the tunes they loved which allowed them to pick and choose where to unleash the new music. If you did not have the pleasure of listening to these dudes play music then you truly missed out.