The Fresh & Onlys, Quilt, and Ghost Box Orchestra at Brighton Music Hall in Boston, Massachusetts on Sunday, November 11, 2012.
The common saw about "it must be in the water" always refers to the liquid phase. No one ever makes the analogy about ice or mist, but given the state of San Francisco bands, there must be something in the fog that rolls over the peninsula on a daily basis. Taking a look at the bands that are currently mining different veins of the same precious metal, it's clear that something special is going on over at the Gold Coast. Thee Oh Sees, The Mantles, Ty Segall and The Fresh & Onlys are all producing top notch material that overlaps somewhat, while still retaining clear differences and individual visions.
If there's a British Invasion parallel to be sloppily applied, branding Tim Cohen's band as The Kinks of the bunch may fit the best. His strength is writing wry character sketches with gorgeous melody lines ("The Executioner's Song"), but is also capable of turning up the amps from time to time and delivering a proper ass kicking ("Euphoria"). The touring lineup also got a healthy dose of awesomeness in the guise of Rachel Fannan, ex-Sleepy Sun, who chipped in with sweet background vocals and a sunny keyboard sound.
Tonight's set list drew heavily from this year's excellent Long Slow Dance, and with good reason - it's another great record in their canon. Tight, catchy songs and simply splendid guitar work from Wymond Miles, whocan juggle the jangle with the biting lead in equal doses. He's a key reason that the band can glide between languid songs that would be at home as the A side of a Felt seven inch ("Presence Of Mind"), to a strum-a-thon that would even make Glenn Mercer's arm accumulate unhealthy levels of lactic acid ("Peacock and Wing").
The openers were well matched, with two of Boston's better psychedelic bands on stage. Quilt (fellow Mexican Summer labelmates of The Fresh & Onlys) played it quiet but firm, drawing strength from the simple melody lines of the two guitars that gave a very pastoral feel. Ghost Box Orchestra on the other hand derives their power by pairing two blistering Jaguars to a pummeling drum rhythm, courtesy of Martin Rex. The fusing of Krautrock sensibilities to open-ended psych guitar explorations is a nice one.
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