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Published: 2011/02/17
by Andrew Bruss

The McLovins, Middle East Upstairs, Cambridge, MA – 2/5

The McLovins dished up a set full of wide-ranging covers and original compositions to a sold out crowd who are already in on the biggest kept secret on the jamband circuit. These Hartford-based teens have been making a name for themselves as some sort of jamming boy-band novelty, but the folks who’ve seen them live know this label is the farthest thing from the truth.

DrumLovin (Jake Huffman), BassLovin (Jason Ott) and AxeLovin (Jeff Howard) rose to prominence with a YouTube clip of a cover of Phish’s “You Enjoy Myself,” but their original tunes are what defined their set in Cambridge, Mass.

Songs like “Tokyo Tea” and “Virtual Circle” have become McLovins set-staples. More recently ‘Beadhead Crystal Bugger” has been blowing minds with thumping Van Halen bass, Umphrey’s Mcgee-esque guitar riffs and drums that bring to mind Rush’s Neil Peart and Jimmy Chamberlin of Smashing Pumpkins.

An evening highlight that demonstrated their versatility was their near-perfect segue from The Grateful Dead’s “Shakedown Street” into “Yyz” by Rush. Although the group’s fans are more Casey Jones than Tom Sawyer, everyone in attendance seemed to appreciate the eclecticism the boys fused into their set.

In addition to fans on the jamband circuit (and in the press), some high profile artists have taken a liking to The McLovins and are throwing their weight behind them. The group performed a tune called “Cohesive” that had words written by Phish lyricist Tom Marshall. Marshall and his partner Anthony Krizan (former Spin Doctors) produced the track and have been known to perform with the boys.

Although the trio appeased their audience’s hunger for Phish with an early cover of “Ghost,” calls for a “Tweezer” persisted throughout the night. Following an announcement from Rick Ginsburg of Nateva Music Festival (and the evening’s concert promoter) that the group would be playing on the main stage this year, the boys encored with a celebratory “Tweezer Reprise” that put an exclamation point on the evening.

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