Tea Leaf Green Feb 11, 2012 Brooklyn Bowl Williamsburg, NY

Tea Leaf Green

After Friday night’s show at the Bowery Ballroom, TLG was bringing the heat down to Brooklyn for their second NYC area performance. Ha Ha Tonka accompanied the band for both shows, and their whole tour actually, recieving a great opportunity to reach out and expand their fanbase. Though there was not to much from their rockabilly styings that swayed me too much, they did have me intrigued when they took on Zeppelin’s “Gallows Pole” a cappella. I was too heavily anticipating TLG’s set to focus though. I had gotten word from a stagehand that the band could only play one set tonight, but that it would be a long one and we would not be disappointed.
I have been seeing these guys play shows since I discovered them in 2007 during their day set at the Vibes, and I have caught almost every area performance since. They have such an evolving sound and strive to push the envelope and take chances as a band. The biggest evolution in their playing has come since bassint Reed Mathis joined the outfit a few years back. Formerly in Jacob Freb Jazz Odyssey, Reed brings a powerful rhythm to the band and really drives their jams. He has an authoritative style of playing that sees him picking the instrument and creating sounds most bassists leave to the guitarists to master. While it may not be uncommon for jambands to have a strong bass player, this guy has gained all sorts of respect from me since I started seeing him play in TLG. The band has also added a second drummer to their touring outfit, Cochrane McMillan. The double dose of drums and the heavy bass have inspired guitarist Josh Clark and keyboardist Trevor Garrod to continuously better their playing to keep up with the rest of their band. Altogether, they form what is in my opinion the most underrated jamband on the scene right now.
They opened up their set with the Bee Gee’s-esque jam “Easy To Be Your Lover,” off their new album Radio Tragedy. This set the tone for what was to be one of the best live performances I have seen them play. A few songs in they went to another favorite “The Garden (Part III)” getting everyone into the show and grooving throughout the Bowl. The lyrics Trevor writes really catch me sometimes, and this track is one example of that. There are only a few jambands that have such prominent lyrics, but Garrod puts alot of soul into his writing and I admire that, from both a fan’s and a writer’s perspective. As the band began into “Bouncin’ Betty,” I took note of the fact that gutarist Josh Clark has been taking the reigns on some of the singing duties for the band, showing of his chops as a lyricist and vocalist. His songs bring a raw edge to the band’s playing and give them an extended diversity of genre blending sound.
              “Devil’s Pay” was a real treat, a rocking jam that brought it all together and showed off the ever growing skills of Josh Clark. The band then brought out guitarist Scott Metzger, who played a show at the Bowl a few days prior to sit in for a few tunes. After talking to Reed on Friday, and him having mentioned they were good friends, I should have seen this coming. Either way the element of surprise created a nice treat for the crowd and myself. First they went through a cover of Bob Dylan’s “The Man In Me,” which I would later learn was a cue to the venue and the song’s presence in The Big Lebowski. The band then led Metzger into an original, one of my favorite TLG songs, “Incandescent Devil.” Metzger seemed to hold his own on stage, having a history with Reed and just overall communicating well with the band. It was a treat to see him and Clark trade solo’s throughout the jam. Another treat would come our way a few songs later as the band would invite another guest out on stage, Peter Levin of the Blind Boys of Alabama and God Street Wine. He sat in on organ going back and forth with Trevor through a take on their own “Dreaming Without Sleeping.” It was nice to see the West Coast troubadours inviting out these New York City mainstays for the night, showing the ties of friendship in the jam scene. After Levin’s departure the band would play another classic of theirs, “Red Ribbons,” which got moving and singing along to Trevor’s vibrant anthem. Then the band would make cue to the Brooklyn scene with the debut of “Hipsta Ninja.” Full of lyrical cliches, the band hit the hipster lifestyle to a tea with this catchy tune. The band would then invite their evening’s guests to the stage for a set closing take on “Panspermic De Evolution.” The jam saw Metzger and Clark trading off as well as Levin and Garrod, creating and explosive jam that reached several climaxes, showing off the whole band and their guests’ talents. Running low on time after the extended set closing jam, Clark quickly rushed the band back to the stage for the lone encore, “Death Cake.” This one, I had never seen live before, but it really rocked the Bowl before sending us on our way. Clark’s energy took the crowd by storm, flailing his body across the stage and throwing the mic stand to the ground. A perfect way to close out a great night of music, these guys are on the road alot, so if you have never seen them, GO! You will not be disappointed.
Brooklyn Bowl; Brooklyn, NY
I:(Extended Set)
Easy To Be Your Lover
5000 Acres
Honeymooners
The Garden (Part III)
Bouncing Betty
Cops Took My Weed
Nothing Changes
Oklahoma Home
The Devil’s Pay

The Man In Me (Bob Dylan; w/ Scott Metzger on Guitar)
Incandescent Devil (w/ Scott Metzger on Guitar)
Training A Cloud
Keeping The Faith
Dreaming Without Sleeping (w/ Peter Levin on Organ)
Red Ribbons
Hipsta Ninja (1st time played)
Panspermic De Evolution (w/ Levin & Metzger)
Encore:
Death Cake

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