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Published: 2003/12/23
by Reanna Feinberg

Tea Leaf Green, Goodfoot Lounge, Portland OR- 12/13

The Goodfoot Lounge feels red. What its actual color is, I couldn't tell you. Its long rooms are lit in dark hues; wooden planks of the stage fold into the carpet of the dance floor. It's friendly and may be coated in orange vinyl, wooden beads and bear skin rugs. All I can say definitively is that it feels red, attracts great music and is a perfect vessel for dissipating high energy. Tea Leaf Green is the energy source this evening, though Moonshine Still lubed the gears, using great transitions in places where stopping seemed appropriate, but instead they switched it up within the framework of the same song.

Tea Leaf Green's music is encapsulating; it settles like a fog speckled in blue-green neon then pulls from your core like stretching antlers and legs from a ball of glass to create an elk. They exude a joyful energy that seeps into the music. It lures, entices, shakes, flows and rockjamthwomps sound into the room. It's music I listen to as I dance around my house seducing drapes when I think nobody's watchingseeing them play feels a little as if my panties were draped around the stage (fortunately I just did laundry). Chants of "Momma tell me about the sex you had in the seventies" solidify the musky energy. The funky hard bass lines draw clenching undulations and the drums make sure they don't stop. My bellybutton pulls to my spine in time with the cymbal like a stubborn mole plunging into a plot of earth where a tunnel once stood; my shoulders roll forward to compensate for balance; high guitar riffs and melodies on the keys swivel my legs out from under my hips and suddenly my attempts to not fall over churn into dancing. Josh Clark's fingers fall like snow flurries behind coils of smoke from the cigarette held in the upper frets of his electric guitar while he shakes out precise, passionate threads of music. His tight guitar manipulations explode into high rising jams, somewhat akin to Trey Anastasio's style. (Though don't be too quick in lumping TLG into the jamband box in the corner where they'll be taken out occasionally for road trips and dropped in surface conversations as exhibits in establishing knowledge of a scene. They play original songs with creativity in their funky, high-energy, seductive rock. A lot of their extended riffs and instrumental explorations are reminiscent of Phish, but I appreciate the style and I dig seeing another band twist influences of it into their own). One of the greatest distinguishing factors of their style is in Trevor Garrod's laid-back, solid, relaxed, full-bodied, soulful voice. It rides a plane independent of the music, holding quality and depth amidst fast paces and intense instrumental explorations. He doesn't yell or burst; he covers the music entirely. He opens to the audience as he plays keyboards on both sides of his body. The keys pull his fingers in as if glass were melting in shards up the veins of his arms. Music pounds while his body tries to escape from the surgelurching toward the crowd, his arms dive in more fully. Eyes closed, he feels the music like I feel trees sleeping in the winter with my palm open against their chilled bark. Trevor takes lead vocals a majority of the time, though Josh shares and complements in this arena, and Ben Chambers dts lyrical stylings at the end of the night when he sings a Snoop Dogg song with a few guys from Moonshine Still joining them on the congas, guitar and keyboard. Ben dives into the bass with a lot of pulsing energy, like a kid playing "Rock Star". His body folds at the waist regurgitating his full strength into the instrument as if it may start a fire if he goes in with enough power, precision and persistence. Scott Rager on the drums hides in a dark corner of the stage behind alien lights scanning the room with single neon eyes. The beats drive the momentum of the jams; they pull and won't let go. They drive hard, building impetus, pulling various sounds from around the stage and blending them into a column of singularly pulsing energy. They all seem to be playing different songs rhythms and sounds at the same timewithout the unifying drum rhythms they could be different bands accidentally gathered on the same stage. There's something else. Their styles, tempos and rhythms vary through the songs but they have a cohesive energy that's fun, very high, playful, easy-going and excited all at once. Rug burns tear at the balls of my feet but I can't stop moving. There's no lead in or warm up, the music jumps in, luring full-bodied-uninhibited surrender. They play with peaks and valleys, letting the music settle then lift it in a whirlwind to its static release. Funky mellow jams jiggle and gasp with a fast-paced adrenaline tease, then settle and flow back into. . . another fast burst. . . I'm sure it's safe for the funk to return, they surely got out the last tease of. . . high-adrenaline rock. . . funk. . . burst. . . now they're. . .burst. . . funk. . .rock. . . burst. . .funk? It's all homogenized now and my flowing arms punch at pockets of space, having succumbed to the will of west coast rock.

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