On July 8th, Telepathy made their first headlining slot at the House of Blues-Sunset Strip, performing for an enthusiastic audience of over 400 devoted Telepathics. With a bevy of new material ready for fresh ears, the recently scholastically emancipated brothers Telep (save for one) jumped into their hour-and-a-half set with a sequence of somewhat older originals. Older, of course is a relative term when you’re talking about a band that cooks up new tunes just about every time you see them. The soothing vocal harmonies of “Ashes,” the funky salsa of “Rain,” and the cool groove of “Listen Up” brought the crowd to a boil just before the one-two punch of “Surrender” and “Useless” kicked it up a notch. These two spanking new babies speak volumes of the songwriting abilities of a group of still very young men. The former also gave multi-instrumentalist Robert Branch a chance to flaunt his chops on slide guitar.

But, as always, these boys know how to counterpoint the power chords with a heavy dollop of the j-yaaaam! “You Move With Grace” saw Branch lay into the HOB’s house B-3 with a vengeance just before he picked up his axe and tore the whole place a new one with a blistering solo on arguably Telepathy’s signature tune, “D Instrumental.” Singer-guitarist Todd Lieberman’s ode to the city that sucks you in and never spits you out, appropriately called “City Lights,” provided just the right amount of release before things got extra funkay.

Holding down the low end with consummate creativity and poise, bassist Isaac Slape brought at the very least this reporter to his knees with a quickening slap-happy bass solo that fed smoothly into “Robert’s Blues,” which showcased some of the best soloing of the night from both Branch and Lieberman. Not to be outdone, drummer, carnivore, and former USC Marching Band miscreant Kevin Dooley gave a group of shrieking fans a mini cadence drum solo (as per request) before counting off another smoking version of “Beautiful Oblivion,” a song that challenges audience members to re-learn everything they thought they knew about dancing.

Continuing the percussive theme, Lieberman and Slape shared with the rabid crowd the story of how Dooley once ate a 9X9 at In ’n’ Out and the little-known fact that Dooley is actually ?uestLove (of the Roots) in disguise. Playing along, Dooley brought a thick groove on “Watering My Roses,” a beautiful, jazzy, soulful tune that would bring a tear to your eye if Lieberman wasn’t so happy to be playing the HOB that he couldn’t help but smile between verses. Apparently, he was so happy that he forgot the order of the verses on the only cover of the night, Dylan’s “Hurricane.” After Branch saved his hide with a terrifying solo, the boys rounded out the show with another pair of infants.

“That’s Mr. Pibb To You” is a funky Latin-jazz number that sounds a lot like a fusion of Santana and Scofield featuring solos by Branch on the B-3 and Lieberman on his semi-hollow body PRS. According to Slape, “Won’t See Me Down” is subtitled “White Gospel,” and it’s just that, a soulful offer to a lover to run away from a place that beats you down. It’s also the most kickin’ closer Telepathy has ever played, pumping up to double time for a peak of an ending that takes you into the deep south and ends as all Gospel should, with an “Amen.”

Now, if you missed this adventure in musical paradise, I suggest you hit up, to check out upcoming show information, CDs, and MP3s. Join the party, become a Telepathic.

MC Voltaire
Telepathic Correspondent
Go See Live Music!

[Published on: 7/15/02]

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