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Half Moon hosts herd of hip harmonists

Andrew Harley

Tea Leaf Green, a San Francisco-based group of multiple-influenced rockers, had the answer for the Thursday night doldrums.

Until late Thursday – early Friday morning, actually – I had been convinced that a large portion of the valley’s concert-goers had little desire to dance, or applaud, for that matter – a cynicism recently garnered due to my attendance of the second annual Austin City Limits Music Fest, which featured over 100 musical acts and over 65,000 dancing freaks on each of the festival’s three days.

Tea Leaf Green lit up Half Moon Saloon Thursday night after a mediocre performance by the Eric McFadden Trio.



Eric McFadden, the ex-P-Funk Allstars guitar guru, and crew didn’t put on a poor show, it was full of drama and masterful, instrument control.

Regardless, the crowd seemed unimpressed by the trio’s dark form of hard, flamenco-accented, rhythm-riff-driven rock.



However, when Tea Leaf Green hit the stage, a slow trickle of barflies and socialites excused themselves from their traditional positions and began dancing.

The dance floor grew crowded after about 45 minutes, which was the amount of time necessary for the most intoxicated people to realize that this band was actually putting on a fun show.

The band showcased its versatility throughout the evening, switching from energy-filled, build-and-release jams, to orchestrated, lyrical ballads, and the band even threw in a Beatles cover.



Toward the end of the night, when the jams started losing energy, the band played its original song “Top Dog,” which discussed the disillusion they felt when they found out rapper Snoop Dogg had decided to stop smoking marijuana because of its effects on his family life.

Tea Leaf Green also played a few other entertaining originals, including “Papa’s in the Backroom,” “Sex in the ’70s” and “Baseball Jam.”

Most of Tea Leaf Green’s songs were designed to emphasize and describe the band’s opinions of what makes a live show good. “Papa’s in the Backroom” is no exception, carrying lyrics like these:

(Italicize and indent)papa’s in the backroom

he’s still plucking on his string bass

while I play the piano

just trying to keep it so

everybody here is singing

and no one here’s a singer

some of us are shouters

and some of us are screamers (yeee haw!) (End of Italics)

All four of the band members are California natives. Josh Clark blazes a hollow-bodied guitar and his fair share of vocals, Scott Rager plays an upbeat set of drums, Ben Chambers accents his solid bass lines with occasional, lyrical freestyling and Trevor Garrod tears up the keyboard and the microphone.

The band has gathered a large, Californian fan base, and has played more than 75 shows this year, branching out further into the United States’ music scene.

For more information on Tea Leaf Green, visit their website at http://www.tealeafgreen.com.

Andrew Harley can be contacted at (970) 949-0555 ext. 610 or at aharley@vaildaily.com.


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