Brother's Past jam like the Grateful Dead or Phish, but with loops and drum machines. They do have a live drummer, but the drum loops add depth to the sound. All of this along with the spacey keys create some kind of dance party, akin to that of a psychedelic rave.
The Abbey Pub was not sold out, but the people there were die-hard fans. It kind of felt like a Dead show at times, with people taping, shooting photos, and calling out favorites. At other moments it felt like a three floor rave, as hippies and hipsters danced to a light show that flickered into the early morning hours. It was jamband-esque, with a techno-feel. Tom Hamilton's guitar sounded just like Jerry Garcia's pretty Vox cry baby during the "Intro/Tuning" session, where they teased the crowd with a bit of "Fire On The Mountain." Audience members responded by releasing shouts of joy, reassuring the 'Bros that they should continue in this direction. Again, most people in attendance were fans of these jam bands, who brought their friends along to dance. You didn't come to this show by accident.
On the 25 minute jam "Dressed Up, Worn Down," the guitar sounds were tweaked electronically, while drum machines ran rampant in the background. "Worn Down" starts off with an eery sounding bass line, that had a classic rock vibe. For some reason the vocals reminded me of Don Henley, or better yet, the Blue Oyster Cult's Don Roeser. There is also a Steely Dan run in there as well. About 10 minutes in, it takes on the life of a drum 'n bass song, only to end on a funky Phish tangent. Like I said; you-can't-help-but-dance.
My favorite song from the set is the introspective "Simple Gift of Man." Initially, this too sounds like the Grateful Dead, think "Eyes of the World," but the keyboards take it in a more modern direction. The vocals stand out here too, very simple and up front. When they go into the epic solo, it starts out like the Dead, but ends up like the Freddy Jones Band. "Gift" has commercial appeal. It's a song that could be played on the radio.
For the longest time I kept listening to Brother's Past, trying to figure out who I was hearing in Hamilton's voice? Steve Miller? A darker Jerry Garcia? Seriously, there may be a little piece of every classic rock act that ever played in there, I just kept hearing influences. This is part of their appeal, that keeps people coming back to their live show.
Since I had never seen the band, I was just there taking in the sight and the sounds, and moving to the beat. As I listen back now, I hear things I missed and influences continue jumping out at me. I linked the set list below to the entire live show, so you can hear for yourself. Brother's Past are a very professional band above all. This is not something they do in their basement for fun. They used to play nearly 150 shows a year, and it's felt in their live set. If you ever get a change to see them at the likes of The Abbey Pub, you must go! You will not be disappointed, they earn their money.
Filed under: Concert Reviews