REVIEW: The Band of Heathens @ Maple Leaf Bar – 3/3/12

After last night, it is now apparent that Austin’s are one of the better kept secrets touring the country today. Although I’d heard good things, this was my first opportunity to see the band and I got the feeling we might be in store for something special when personal favorites Tame Impala and Pink Floyd set the vibe and tone as the pre-show house music. Always a good sign…

Melding country, rock, blues and soul with a rare found mix of deft musicianship, insightful lyrics and admirable, high-level professionalism, the five piece band played like their lives depended on it, running through 25 songs over 2 sets and three hours to a fairly scattered Saturday night crowd in the Maple Leaf Bar. It was made abundantly clear to myself and those seeing the band for the first time that this is a polished live band and that their performance abilities will likely be what will ultimately get America’s attention.

After opening with the straight-laced Southern rock of “Polaroid”, the band immediately began showing their broad range, seguing into the soulful “Philadelphia”. Peak moments of pure jam out euphoria were well-spaced throughout the set and the standout from set one came during the latter half of the preposterously powerful and sprawling “Judas ‘Scariot Blues“, replete with a guitar fill that brought to mind the incomparably spotless guitar tone of Mark Knopfler. A few songs later, the B-3 heavy funk blues groove “You’re Gonna Miss Me” stretched past the 13 minute mark, capped off with an ecstatic and wild improvisational exploration that had all five band members firing on all cylinders.

Set two kicked off with the swampadelic blues of “Medicine Man” that brought to mind Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, adding to the already long list of comparisons to classic artists BoH’s music conjured during the show. The rhythm section of Seth Whitney on bass and John Chipman on drums exhibited the kind of close-knit musical rapport that could only be the product of heavy, heavy touring, laying an excellent base for the band to work from and operating totally in line with one another throughout the night. Lyrical nods to New Orleans were littered throughout the show, with the mellifluous harmonies of “Hurricane” in set one and “Nine Steps Down”, “Gris Gris Satchel” and “Second Line” in set two. Notable covers included The Grateful Dead’s “Deal” and an interesting, stretched out take on Gillian Welch’sLook At Miss Ohio“. Wrapping things up well after 2 a.m., by the time the show was at it’s end, the band had the crowd hanging on every note and begging for more. This thing could’ve gone for another couple hours and no one in the remaining crowd would’ve moved a muscle. With the professionalism of a band like Wilco or My Morning Jacket and the sounds-like-the-classics widespread accessibility of a Dr. Dog or The Black Crowes, these guys might just have something here and if word of their live reputation gets out, it’s only a matter of time before they start getting the props they deserve. They’ve already got the sound, the talent and the look of a big time band so it’ll be interesting to see how far Band of Heathens can go.

Set List

I: Polaroid > Philadelphia, Free Again, What’s The World, Walking And Talking, Judas ‘Scariot Blues, Right Here With Me, You’re Gonna Miss Me, Nothing To See Me, Bumble Bee, Golden Calf, Deal, Hurricane > The Last Broadway

II: Medicine Man, Should Have Known Better, Let Your Heart Not Be Troubled, Say, Second Line, Nine Steps Down, Gris Gris Satchel, Jackson Station, LA County Blues, Look At Miss Ohio, I Ain’t Running

March 5, 2012 |  by  |  Reviews
About the author

Wesley grew up in coastal Georgia and is a former resident of The Music City and The Big Easy where he helped get LMB NOLA off-the-ground after launching in January 2011. Over the past few years, he has also contributed steadily to JamBase and Relix Magazine. Recently, Hodges moved on to L.A. where Abita Beer is hard to find, costs about $6 if located and impromptu parading in the streets will most likely get you arrested on the spot.

 
  • Sssparks54

    We knew them when and have followed them many places…love them and love the review find it spot on

  • http://uneasyconcerts.blogspot.com/ Uneasyconcerts

    It was like a unforgettable moment back at the Maple Leaf where the Band of Heathens played my favorite songs. Overall of 25 songs have been sung by 2 sets of entertainers. I really love Pink Floyd a lot so I had myself facing the stage and watched my favorite band sung my favorite songs. Feels great all the time.

  • Pingback: The V Side: Film, Class, Culinary Arts | NolaVie - Life and Culture in New Orleans

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