LIVE: Start Making Sense @ Rockin’ On the River, 8/3/11
Timbre Coup proved to be a savagely entertaining and mega-talented quartet – easily the best opener of Troy’s Rockin’ the River free concert series. Long compositions like “Talking Sleep” flirt with jam-band trappings, but the underpinnings are all signature progressive rock. And to do prog-rock the correct way, like Timbre Coup does it, you have to be able to play, to have the chops. You just can’t fake it. When they pulled off the swap-instruments trick on their tune “Stealth,” it proved to be an innovative touch. Despite the fact that the members of Timbre Coup are only twentysomething, guitarist Benjamin Pickering admitted, “Our heroes are bands like King Crimson.” He was joined onstage by his brother Matthew on drums, Andrew Chamberlaine on guitar and Daniel Gerken on bass.
Headliners Start Making Sense – as the name of this band suggests – is a Talking Heads tribute band. The SMS line-up sets out to sound like the Talking Heads, using not only a core guitar/ bass/ drums unit, but also by fleshing out the sound to a seven-piece band that incorporated keyboards and percussion, as well as female backing vocals, much like the later period Heads. The only nod to recreating the look of the Heads was front-man Jon Braun as David Byrne. He has the look; he has the quirk; and brother, he really has the voice.
Despite the rain last Wednesday evening, there was a very good crowd who obviously liked what they heard. Big hits like “Burning Down the House” and ’88’s “Nothing but Flowers” were mixed in with the more obscure tracks such as “Pulled Up” from ’77 when the Heads were definitively a four-piece. The rain eventually broke, and the band exploded into powerful rendition of “Once in a Life Time” replete with the jerky, religiously inspired motions of the MTV video. During the rest of the set, bodies were propelled into motion, moving forward, dancing and singing along to this Pennsylvania-based band. A solid booking for Troy’s Rockin’ the River series!
Review and photographs by Matt Mac Haffie