Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Free Lions at Que Sera, 8/23/10

A whole lot can happen in two years, even while feeling like it happened in an instant.  Something that seemed like it might only be a lark can evolve into something formidable and real.  It's hard to believe it's been two years, almost to the day, since Free Lions played their first show at the Good Hurt in Los Angeles, and harder still to believe it's been over a year since I wrote about a fleshed-out version of the band impressing at the Yost Theater in Santa Ana.  What's not hard to believe, however, is that in the here and now Free Lions is a very good band, one that has grown into itself and then pushed outward for more.

Now, I could certainly be accused of a certain level of cronyism, or favoritism, or nepotism, or some such other ism because two of my closest friends are in this band.  I get that, but regardless of one's tendency to look more favorably upon one's friends--and I am not one to mince words or hold back criticisms--there comes a point where good is good.  Free Lions are good, and last night at Que Sera in Long Beach, they were very good.  A constant issue during performances has been finding the right mix, and the night didn't start well with lead singer/guitarist Shayne Fee's amp dying during sound check, but as it turned out they sounded better than ever, all six members meshing to give the songs their proper due.

"Nirvana Song" started things off on a dark note, flowing perfectly into one of their best and oldest tunes, "It's OK," which set us up with the crashing bridge of just vocals and drums that only tease the actual sonic crescendo that comes on its heels.  Trying something I hadn't seen from them before, the first four songs melded together without pause, before backup singer Jocelyn Fee took over lead duties for the cheerier "AD."  Then we were treated to a new song, one that saw the pop influences of the band seep through to strong effect. 

Of the eight songs they played, only two ("Astronaut Wife Depression" being the other) were holdovers from the original batch that debuted at The Good Hurt, and while they are still very good songs, it was exciting to hear so much growth in the newer material, in particular "Come on Back" and ""Flip Your Rig."  If "Astronaut Wife Depression" is about a hopeful moment in a relationship, "Flip Your Rig" (which I'm almost positive is not referencing a deleted scene from Convoy) is about that relationship gone bad.  Starting off with a bouncy but quiet guitar and Shayne's somewhat manic vocals, the emotion erupts with the chorus of "'Cause I don't want you no more!"  It hits hard but is over quick, making it a great closer and a nice microcosm of the entire set, which left me wanting more.

Set List: Nirvana Song / It's OK / Astronaut Wife Depression / Come on Back / AD / New Song / River Song / Flip Your Rig


Anonymous said...

Yahtzee!!! I love it. I do. This blog leaves me wanting more!

Tom said...

... and the tour w/ Arcade Fire should not be too far away.

Hatfield said...

Thanks, Anonymous! And Tom, that would be pretty incredible, but I agree that it would make sense musically

Anonymous said...

It makes SO MUCH sense musically! It's like it was meant to be. Let's make this happen. Oh, and you're welcome Brian.