Show Review-Amoeba 6/16

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06 23 2010

Thanks to Brad and Radio Free Silver Lake for this great review!!!!

by Brad Roberts

Everest-4 Wow, that was an amazing show that caught me by surprise. And it shouldn't have. I've been loving Everest's new album, On Approach, for a while now, but just didn't expect such a powerful and moving set from a band I've seen about ten times already. At Amoeba Music on Wednesday, June 16, 2010, I literally had to choke back tears, I became so emotionally involved. This will be a review that can, literally, write itself and I'll just hold the pencil.

Not having seen the band since last September at The Troubadour, I hadn't heard many of the new songs live. Unlike their first album, Ghost Notes, which was recorded quickly and featured songs they had worked on for over a year at numerous live shows, On Approach, was a more difficult, but more rewarding, birth.

Everest-1 Russell Pollard (center of photo on left) has been quoted as saying it resulted from Everest really getting to know each other through touring. "Now it's guys who've actually struggled together and survived some tight spaces, cramped hotel rooms, some arguments and some really, really good times. There was a lot of collaboration, and we weren’t afraid to do anything.” That sense of collaboration in very strong throughout the recording as, together, they worked through the impact on them as individuals in a band that was growing popular very fast.

On Approach is an extremely fine album with more varied writing and featuring a telling jump in the quality of Russell's vocals. The strong and assured songwriting gives the album the feel of any number of classic '60's rock albums, yet comes off as fresh and original with no trace of stale homage. I'll still be listening to this when I'm 125.

Everest startled me immediately with that discordant slam of rock and roll that opens "I've Had This Feeling Before", punctuated by Davey Latter's intense drum work, Everest was playing with a ferocity I hadn't seen from them before. It was like fire and brimstone, and it was glorious. All the players threw themselves into the music and seemed transported by it. I'd never seen Joel Graves, who plays guitar and keys, sometimes simultaneously, perform with such total abandon. Same with Jason Soda on guitar and organ, or Elijah Thomson, who appears to go into a trance state where only he and his bass are allowed. And when sometimes four of them join Russell on vocals they produce a sound that makes your heart soar.

They played the audience participation hand-clapping, "Keeping the Score", the beautiful and moving "Fallen Feather", the hard rocking "House of 9's" and finished up with the album's first cut, "Let Go". A lot of bands have a tendency to ramp up and rush all their song in live performance, which can put songs that sound varied on record into the same sonic terrain, creating a monotonous and sloppy live show. Everest completely avoids this by moving with ease between rock bombast and gentle folk giving variety and depth to their set. It made each song a special gem.

Everest-7I seemed to have positioned myself just right, in the second aisle of record bins, so that the overhead speakers were aimed right at my head, particularly the one featuring Russell's vocals. Whereas up front, the vocals tend to get pumped out over your head, this was perfect. I heard a few people afterwards complain they couldn't hear the voices enough, so I can't attest to what others heard, but from where I was I saw and heard a remarkable concert that I won't be able to shake off easily.

They also played The Troubadour, opening for The Whigs last Friday, which I couldn't attend, but they play at One Colorado for the KCRW Summer Nights concert series in Pasadena on Saturday, June 26 at 7:30 and I'm going to try to be there.

Thanks to Amoeba Music for the photo

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