Sunday, 18 April 2010

515 THE GRAVEL PIT, Delta Clutch, Crème Brulee, The Gladstones, TT The Bear's Place, Cambridge, MA USA, Saturday 23 June 2001

Gig 2 of the day, after the Mishima acoustic show this afternoon, is also the "bigger fish"; Day 2 of The Gravel Pit CD release double-header! So we scoot on in early doors, having to pay to get in this time as EdV hadn't turned up with an updated guest-list (D'oh!, but apparently they were getting static for it anyway, so no worries). Hit the pool tables while The Gladstones were on, playing inoffensive but inauspicious strum-along guitar pop and fulfilling their role of undistracting background noise to our pool game perfectly.

We then catch up with friends before checking out Crème Brulee, one of EdV's 5 bands at the moment (yes, really; Pit, Gents, Kay, Crème and Crown Victoria - plus the bass work he's doing for Jules Verdone, who's here tonight and whom we briefly say, "hi," to). Ed and similar workaday drummer Tom Polce ("the dream rhythm section," according to Crème frontman Nathan Brouillet) provide an accomplished and solid base, but it's Nathan who's the real star. Confident, handsome and tousled, Nate is an excellent frontman, cajoling and involving the relatively sparse early-doors crowd. The music itself is a lot harder rocking than the one understated EP they've released to date, and thanks to Nate's riveting performance, Creme Brulee are a surprising holiday bonus.

Main support Delta Clutch, however, are odd and slightly disappointing. The vocalist has a fine range, and the band (including Buffalo Tom's accomplished tour keyboardist Phil Aiken) play an eclectic mix of rock and more soulful pop. Somehow, it just doesn't gel together for me, and Rach and I end up socialising rather than paying attention during their set.

But once again we're here for The Pit, so we venture on through the surprisingly not-full club to an easy vantage point upfront. It seems also that The Pit notice that the place was less full and the atmosphere less anticipatory than last night, as their set opened in an almost subdued manner (well, for them anyway), and needed a couple of "Manifesto" oldies, "Skipping" and the Buddy Holly-esque off-kilter rockabilly of "Favorite Scar" to restore parity. After that, however, they're off; as dynamic, mobile, hard-rocking and stunning as ever. "Ballad Of The Gravel Pit" is once again breathless and bursting, but an unscheduled "Abimelech DuMont", as dark, angry and strident as ever, had them really scraping the sky. After that, they're brilliant! Set closer "Up And Down" is fantastic; a frantic blues romp with a real Lightnin' Hopkins hook, but encore "New Haven" tops the lot - especially as Jed introduces my favourite Gravel Pit number with, "one we've never played before!" The perfect birthday present!

Afterwards, we catch up with some folks, including Army Of Jasons man Geoff Van Duyne, who remembers to bring the CD he promised us last night - good man! I get my pic taken with Jed - the only guy in the club sweatier than me - and we finally head off after another stunning show from The Gravel Pit!

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