The Mercury Lounge, NYC, saw no such performance when The Bright Light Social Hour took to the stage. The eruption of energy that surged from the stage was suited more for a tripped out jam band concert than a rock show. Almost every track was strewn with solos and anticipatory build-ups, turning the atmosphere in to a vibrant dance party and sweat-fest. Bassist, Jack O'Brien, held down the funkiness every step of the way with popping grooves reminiscent of the Rapture mixed with a bit of John Paul Jones.
The band opened with tireless versions of the first two tracks off their self-titled debut LP. "Shanty" warmed the crowd up with its southern twang and punchy vocals, while "Bare Hands, Bare Feet" sparked a sing-a-long that got everyone feeling like a part of the show.
O'Brien did most of the banter between songs and it was obviously clear that the band and he were overtly pumped to be able to serenade the crowd. His overwhelming mustache and smile payed tribute to this. It's refreshing to see a band that is still lively and excited about being career musicians.
"La Piedra De La Iguana" tore the dance floor up with its sexy, Santana-esque flow. The organ pulsed within the crowds chest, like an eerie victory over a vanquished ex-lover, everybody swaying as one. Next, TBLSH blasted out the the award winning, "Detroit", the audience screaming its opening in unison, "I need your love".
Things really picked up when the band rocked a heady, heavy, jam that showcased a wildly spacey guitar and relentless drumming. The song wasn't off their album, but it beat the hell out of the crowd nonetheless. Cue the slowed down, bluesy, "Bad to the Bone"-type jam (thank you, George Thorogood), and you get back to back tomes of musical deliciousness. The solos of Curtis Roush sounded like something Trey Anastasio of Phish would have pumped out to a stadium of thousands. But instead, Roush doused the audience in gooey guitar love-making. His fingers sliding up and down the fret board as Mozart surely did on his harpsichord. Notable mention: O'Brien's beefed up party version of "Face down, ass up, that's the way we like to fuck" took the New York crowd to another level of excitement.
The finale was a rocked up, surf jam infused with Black Sabbath and speed. Everyone soloed throughout the duration of the song and while Roush and O'Brien killed it and though keyboardist, A.J. Vincent, frantically cut his keyboard (not to mention key-tar on some tracks) up, it was drummer Joseph Mirasole and his one minute solo that got all the attention. He may look only a mere sixteen, but this dude shredded the drums to pieces all set. So hard, so technical, and so perfect that without him, The Bright Light Social Hour certainly wouldn't have the engine that keeps the car moving.
If there is one thing you learn from this: Do not miss The Bright Light Social Hour when they come to your town. It will certainly be a long while until a show with that much energy and talent comes through again.