Another great night of live music in downtown Eugene – all three bands put on excellent sets. If you weren’t there you seriously missed out (I keep saying that – start listening, dammit!!).
First Up – The Longshots
An absolutely wonderful ska-rock band, this set was most notable with a great horn section feature guest saxists Johnna Threlkeld and Raimey Hoff (filling in for Justin Canfield).
Drummer Ben Hampton set a lively kick and snare running throughout, with Blake Hoshibata’s rhythm guitar and back-up vocals well balanced (as well as excellent lead guitar riffs). Tom Wade on bass guitar kept the rhythm popping – this group is an orchestra with kick!
There should have been a lot more folks here – these guys make excellent dance music. Shane Connor’s work on Yamaha keyboards changed it up nicely, with a lovely solo guitar intro and bridge on their fourth and closing song. An excellent ska band, 4 solid stars!
Next – Forever Growing
This Eugene duo keeps a dreamy mix of bass samples running, with drummer Adam Sweet solid on the drum kit and guitarist Andrew Becker noodling on electric guitar – his harmonies are reminiscent of trekking through primal forests. The energy starts soft and low, gradually but inexorably building to an incredible climax, then gently bringing you back to float along like a feather on a soft breeze. They have a nice smooth sound, very solid for an instrumental band.
Andrew should continue working on his fingering techniques for the transitions from lead to rhythm guitar – it got a little muddy in spots. But as a single guitarist working both a rhythm guitar chord foundation and lead guitar riffs, he does an amazing job.
Adam was absolutely rock solid on drums. I especially liked his use of the cymbals and high hat on the opening to the third song of their set. Andrew also made great use of the guitar box for various effects. Their closing song, “E-Dance” was an eclectic, popping, pure fusion close to the set – an all-around great performance and 3½ stars.
Third – Slow Children
Absolutely head-banging hard rock, with shades of reggae adding color – folks were on the floor banging and bouncing! Caleb Moffit on bass and lead vocals was wicked – he carried excellent lead vocals while his bass riffs popped and snapped.
Kevin Hutman’s drums drove with impeccable timing, while Bryan Bacci on lead/rhythm guitar wove pretty runs through the set. The samples were a nice addition to the mix. The reggae flavor definitely came through on their second song, while the third song was completely funk with a contained energy that had everyone on the floor dancing it up.
They closed the set with a cover of “Eleanor Rigby” that was awesome, bouncing from nearly punk pop to metal thrash (don’t kill me – just my definition!). The vocals on the chorus were haunting – absolutely stunning. The audience was yelling for an encore – 4 and ¾ stars for this band and our pick for the night!
In summary, if Growing Forever was a starlit night, the Longshots were a sunny day on the beach – and Slow Children were midnight in downtown New Orleans on Mardi Gras!