Marc Ford, The Federalists, Matthew Hansen, 4.26.08

I originally wanted to go to this concert because I heard that Marc Ford of The Black Crowes was playing a solo show, and if you know me, you know that I’ve recently become obsessed with them. And the show was at Blake’s, which I found achingly convenient for my modern-classic-rock deprived soul.

It ended up being a pleasant little surprise, cut short only by the fact that I was exhausted beyond belief for reasons I’m still not really clear on (and couldn’t last through Ford’s complete set), but I saw most of it and I was pretty satisfied with my experience. Openers Matthew Hansen and Danilo Lopez played a raw, gritty acoustic blues set that I only wished would have gone on for hours. The normally raucous crowd at Blake’s was considerably respectful of the music, too, talking minimally over the set. Next on the list were The Federalists, who first and foremost were ADORABLE. They were attractive and clean cut (not preppy – THANK GOD) and produced a sound that seemed to come from rock vets rather than Bay Area newbies. These guys have a lot going for them – a mixture of live personalities (pay particular attention to drummer Dustin Smith and guitarist Clark Abbott), funky keyboards (Chris Cooper), obvious musical talent (Luke Franks and Jason Roysdon), and a solid beat-bassline (Smith and Brandt Walker). I really can’t wait to see where they’re headed.

Ford’s command over his instrument was obvious – the sound coming from his guitar reflected his weighty experience with the Crowes and with Ben Harper, and his solo act affixed itself firmly within a genre that combined his previous affiliations and his own personal tastes. I know I’m partial to baritones over tenors, bass lines over power chords and blues scales over just about anything, but this guy was good. All this musical reinforcement has re-instilled that creative bug, too. It’s a damn shame that I don’t have an accessible piano right now.