Walking into The Blue Loon and seeing nothing but a drum kit and guitar on stage had me wondering if Tim Easton would be channeling his primal inner blues. No, he didn’t, though in many aspect of his three-plus hour show, this indeed seemed to be the case as his acoustic guitar was bolstered with assorted effects.
But Easton wasn’t howling in rage or pain like Jack White (though he did get the audience to howl at one point). Instead Easton worked through a varied set that leaned heavily on the blues while touching on various aspects of folk, country, rock and punk.
Easton relayed a story about playing the Beatles in his Ohio State University dorm room, only be told by his roommate to write his own songs. It was a time when punk raged across campuses. And while Easton seems not to have succumbed to the musical trend of the day, there are certainly elements of such in many of his more driving songs.
But what stood out tonight was Easton’s ability to mix genres, moving seamlessly though folk, blues and rock, sometimes in the same song. Performing almost all original material, Easton showcased his songwriting abilities as well as his multidimensional guitar chops. In fact, it was the “throwaway” licks that made a strong impression, the quick runs, fades and mini lead interjections that broke up the songs and made them distinctly original sounding.
With lyrics like “I’ve taken too many drugs not to cry at songs” and “I was sick and tired of waking up with a dead man in my eye” Easton used his songs — even forlorn love songs — not just as an outlet for his emotions, but as a jumping off point into well conceived stories of the (mostly) human condition.
Filling out the drum kit was Kliff Hopson, former member of the now defunct Gangly Moose. Hopson was lively with his playing, and added just the right creative fills, random flourishes and stomping bass drum to accentuate Easton’s high-energy playing and (mostly) fast moving songs. The washboard came out a few times on more folk-inspired numbers, but this was mostly a rock and roll show, and the duo certainly enjoyed getting loud and loose.
With a deep catalog to draw from, Easton pulled out but a few covers (still, making them his own), supplementing the show with songs from his last album “Porcupine,” along with newer material not yet released.
Easton’s banter with the crowd, usually off the cuff and frequently coming from left field made everyone feel involved in the show, and that’s what top notch performers do on a great evening.
And this was one of them. —Glenn BurnSilver
©Glenn BurnSilver/Liner Notes, 2008-2011.