- By: B.B. Miller
recently stopped by The Hill in Portsmouth, NH and played a full night
of music to the enthusiastic spring crowd at The Blue Mermaid.
With the addition of Adam on percussion, the impressive now 6-piece
has ramped things up again; Increasing to a size that encroaches the
walls and competes for space within the Maid's dancing/dining area. The
tight quarters didn't stop or even slow them down however, as they
opened with a tasty new styling on Get Back. The interesting vocal
changes added a touch of newness to the familiar favorite. Moving
swiftly out of the opener to tight vocal harmonies in Fire on the mtn,
which was then followed by a "fantastical" Float, it was clear the
night's performance was going to focus on the vocal work the band has
obviously been working on. The vocal power in the band has grown ten
fold as the band has increased in members. All 6 performers have vocal
parts throughout the repertoire with a majority of the weight being
carried in force by Proper and Grob.
A retooled Jalopy made a
return in the first set with an intro that hearkened back to the early
days of Frog when Wendy would share in the harmonies. As the mood
lifted out of the slower serenade they picked it up with the brightest
and bubbliest Armageddon tune I've ever heard, When It All Goes Down.
Complete with a full band drum/percussion break that lead into a Super
Mario 3 tickle. Then the song shifted into the Shane/Adam drum solo
that fueled the remainder of the song. Superfrog's chops have been
polished to a fine-tuned shine and this end of day’s anthem shows it.
a trip on the Astronautical train, Nate moved over as Adam took the
lead to cover Bad Fish. Though only his first performance with the
band, the percussionist sang with added flair to the known SF cover. A
shaky start on Wish was swiftly erased by the powerful presence of the
congas and bongos in the very horn centered; Latin infused original
which ended the first set.
With the newest original opening the
second set, the band slowly gathered together joining their instruments
one by one. The soft, mellow tune welcomed the patrons back from the
set break. The mellow stepped aside, however, and quickly made room for
the more upbeat Tequilador > Year of the Frog pair of originals.
With updates and edits in the arrangement of the opening of YOTF, the
song was much different from the recording on their album of the same
name. When it comes to updating from their album though, not a single
song has changed as much as Traveler. This is not a bad thing at all.
The effects, production, harmonies and depth that unveils itself from
the belly of this tripped out space beast might just be the damp dark
magic that fuels the melting memories of our fungus days gone by. The
sonic journey brought forth by this slow and relaxed, yet heavy and
powerful tune is reminiscent of something Floyd may have left off of
Saucer or Meddle. Cormier's slide work and peddle mastery combined with
the driving Comer beat and off handed fills mixed with the walking bass
line of Proper sound like a B side off of a Gilmore/Waters/Mason
creation. After the impressive performance an almost equally stunning
20 minute Whipping Post closed out the set in full face melting fashion
as only Superfrog could do. Superfrog will be at Sullivan Hall in NYC
on Tuesday, May 12th. If you are going to be in the area do yourself a
solid; go see this band and enjoy original music again.