Perpetual Groove, MoonDoggies West, Las Vegas, NV- 2/15
The Las Vegas Jamband Society made the good people of Sin City an offer. Book the band, rent the PA, and we will help you find a venue and an audience. John Lynes heeded the word, and since one of his faves, Savannah GAs Perpetual Groove, rarely came to town he took it upon himself to plan their visit himself. Their second Las Vegas show in less than a year left the crowd wondering on the Wednesday night after Valentines Day 2006 – just how many folks could John get if someone gave him a weekend club date and the band kept improving show after show.
Well known on the Southeast and festival circuits, Perpetual Groove live up to their name more often than not. Unlike many electronica-influenced jambands who follow strict rise-and-release arrangements, PGroove aim to create a constant vibe. It works well for the group, for when they do crescendo it usually signals the exciting end of a well-traveled journey, instead of like feeling stuck on a rickety loopless rollercoaster. At times ambient and at times rocking (particularly on the vocal numbers), the bands grooves sometimes feel monotonous as they will plateau and survey the scene instead of constantly reach for that peak experience. However more often than not the MoonDoogies faithful just shook their butts, waved their arms, drank their beers, and wore their smiles wide and proud.
The opener Crocket and Tubbs created set a slow but soaring tone, but if the group wanted to hold the crowd throughout two weekday sets they had to step it up. The band was forced into an early setbreak after a technical difficulty, halting any momentum building out of Three Weeks and its ambitious slide guitar, which Butler works extremely adeptly as a lead instrument. The first set closer then became the second set opener and rewarded the 100-plus person crowd for hanging out with a rousing version of Peter Gabriels Sledgehammer. Unlike many other stale jamband covers, which get applause for no other reason than being recognizable, keyboardist Matt McDonald breathed new life into the classic displaying his mighty synth powers.
TTFPJ reared its head in the middle of set, once again highlighting a jambands ability to both simultaneously kick it rhythmically and bite it lyrically. It is not that Butler cannot sing, because he can, but why sing if you have nothing to say? The band more than made up for it on the second set closer, Speed Queen. Bassist Adam Perry, a human chimney whose thunder rumbled low throughout the night, let loose like a Category 5 on Queen and drummer Albert Suttle followed suit as the rhythm section took over the shows rousing closer. In like a lamb and out like a lion, full of twists and turns and various takes on electronic groove, the show certainly made the boys a few new fans, even outside of the promoters friend circle.
A rather fun and new rite of passage at MoonDoggies West, the band echoed Tea Leaf Greens 10/22/05 sentiment and encored with Helter Skelter. This came only after PGroove reminded the crowd that they had to clap and scream really loud if they wanted an encore. John Lynes cheered the entire post-set break. After all, he wanted get his moneys worth