The Gracious Few: Live In Spokane, Nov. 30

The Gracious Few

The recent snowfall in the Lilac City is reaching its final stages of existence.  The snow has turned to slush and has easily complicated the downtown streets of this fair city.  But somewhere in the deafening night, a strange bit of alternative music history is about to be put on display, as well as up to the test of time and understanding of fans who have devoted themselves to this genre of music for two decades.

The young have become old; the rebellious have become sales associates and marketing experts.  Grunge is gone, and where Bill Clinton stuck his dick is no longer important. But, where there is a glimmering light of hope for those who have lost their vibrant ways, you will probably find a band.  And on this cold November night, that hope lies within a franchise music venue.  And the band would be The Gracious Few.

For those who know The Gracious Few, it is pretty much old news that they might very well be one of the most unique 90’s alternative super groups to develop in recent years. For those who have no clue as to who these fine gentlemen are as of yet, they are three dudes from Live (the entire band minus Ed Kowalczyk and his scary pony tail) and two cats from the 4th best alternative band from the Northwest, Candlebox (including Kevin Martin on vocals).

What might not be entirely known at this point is that a live showing of The Gracious Few is one that is surely never to be forgotten.  And that these guys might be just as good now as they were in their heyday 15 years ago.  And for those expecting to hear “Far Behind” at high volumes, or that soft acoustic version of “Cover Me” you downloaded from Limewire a few years ago, prepare to be disappointed. These guys have their own shit to say.

But it is safe to say, the true fans are sure to enjoy these tremendous fivesome just as much as they would from seeing the band’s preceding outfits.Within their three hour set, the band managed to pull off playing their self titled debut album in its entirety, as well as developing a sort of “intermission from the hard stuff” section where they broke out the wooden stools and acoustic guitars to play from what they called the Front Porch.

As if they really needed to showcase it any more, The Gracious Few’s music is heavily inspired by old blues and soul music.  But, they’re influence seems to only be inspired in the way of blues music being a strange emotional outlet.  Much like the Rolling Stones and how they created their own Brit pop version of Chicago blues.  And just like Mick and ‘dem, the Few pulled off something magnificent on this night.

They highlighted themselves, as expected, by the working stiff ode of a track “Honest Man” which has the ability to hit your conscience harder than a shot of whiskey poured in an open wound.  They don’t pull out the old material, which might be disappointing to some, but should be respected by all.  Times change.  People change.  And some people just need to get the hell over it.

Kevin Martin may have left the long hair back in the late 90’s, but his spirit is as lively as ever as he belts through tracks like an opera singer on acid.  He has always been one of the best voices in alternative music, if not for any reason other than that he seems to respect the fact that he is only singing.  He has no instrument to tie him down (not in this group anyway) and he gives it a thousand percent as he drips sweat from his now middle aged forehead.  Guitarist Sean Hennessy has definitely not lost a single step in his lick abilities.  If anything, he has improved in ways that probably once seemed unimaginable.  Like that hidden jug of Merlot hidden in your Grandpa’s basement, he has only gotten better with age.

And the boys from Live (Chad Taylor, Chad Gracey, and Patrick Dahlheimer) seem to be getting along fine without their friend with the demons leading them in song. The one reasonable fear that many fans of the glory days of alternative music might have is what sort of influence today’s bullshit excuse for hard rock music might have had on these guys.  They obviously want to appeal to at least some of the youth, but how far are they willing to go?

Well, as the clearly showed here in Spokane, not that far at all.  Sure, there are a few moments where they seem to drift off into a Saving Abel sort of vibe, but they always seemed to revert back to the waves of sound that have always proved effective and much more crafty.  If an example is necessary, here goes — in the 80’s when Paul Rodgers and Jimmy Page saw their former band’s brand of pure bred rock and roll desecrate in front of their eyes by a batch of synthesizers and weird hair cuts, they stuck to their guns and created The Firm.  Though short lived, it was obviously a brilliant testimonial on how solid rocks never crumble.

This is was The Gracious Few have created when they saw their own brand of music turn into whining and loud for all the wrong reasons rock mixed with turntables and Livestrong bracelets.  The wheel of rock and roll has to be constantly reinvented.  And these are the guys who can do it. Though the night was slow and mostly uneventful off stage here at this Knitting Factory (one of many across the land), it was an intense mind blowing display of raw talent by a few legends in their own right.

Yes, The Gracious Few might not seem as powerful as their original bands seem to make you feel, but that should be just fine.  But when these geniuses hit the stage here in eastern Washington, to a crowd that was easily  1/16th the size they were once accustomed to, they still came off as energetic and tyrannically stable as they ever were years ago.   Welcome everybody, to the rebirth of real rock and roll and all its undying and eternal glory.

One Response to “The Gracious Few: Live In Spokane, Nov. 30”

  1. […] you’re going to want to be at a concert by The Gracious Few, think again. Music Geek posted a review of the band’s gig in Spokane and surely, you need to be at one of the shows The Few have scheduled: But it is safe to say, the […]

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