by Bob Mcmahon
As the Blind Eyes is an-all male trio, there was some question as to who was going to play the all-important role of Stevie Nicks in its Fleetwood Mac cover set. The solution to this quandary was as simple as it was brilliant: Get every noteworthy female vocalist from St. Louis' indie-rock scene to sing a song. This trick not only provided a great showcase for some talented singers but also kept the show fresh as each performer added their own energy and style into the mix.
The group led off with "Gold Dust Woman," here recast as a duet between Blind Eyes lead singer Seth Porter and first guest Beth Bombara. The solid, mellow rendition was a good momentum builder for the smoky grooves of popular follow-up "Rhiannon," which was superbly handled by Sleepy Kitty's Paige Brubeck. With all due respect to the ladies, some of the most notable moments of the set came from the main cast. Porter brought his friend Brad Stringmeyer out to lend "guitar credibility" with his slick fingerpicking on "Landslide," which the two played sans the rest of the group. The crowd ate it up; many in the audience sang along loudly and at least four attendees throw up their lighters. Another highlight came when bassist Kevin Schneider sang the punkish "Somebody's Gonna Get Their Head Kicked In Tonight," a refreshing reminder of Fleetwood's pre-Stevie Nicks/Lindsey Buckingham garage-rock sound.
Although the group performed admirably, they suffered from a bass-heavy mix that often swallowed up other instruments. This was most noticeable on "Dreams," when Porter's viola and guest Cassie Morgan's guitar were barely audible and on "Gypsy," when Brubeck returned to play what seemed to be a silent bell-kit. Still, the guest-star approach worked terrifically and the Blind Eyes kept the audience engaged. It all culminated in an epic run-through of "Go Your Own Way" in which every guest returned to the stage to belt out the chorus and rock out. The audience was only too glad to help out in this endeavor.
Troubadour Dali decided to pay tribute to the Queens of the Stone Age's LA desert heritage with large cardboard cutouts of cacti and a powerful, three-guitar attack. Kicking off with the first two tracks from Rated R, the act's three guitarists approximated Homme and company's tone pretty well as they pummeled the crowd with QOTSA's hard-hitting riffs. The group also did a remarkable job of retaining the many intricacies of Queens' music -- it didn't neglect any recorded ad-lib or part buried in an album mix. Those intricacies might have gone unnoticed by the audience, however, as the three guitars and keyboard made for a wall of sound that made leads and solos tough to hear sometimes, particularly on "Auto Pilot."
But too much rock is better than the alternative -- and especially good was deep cut "Song for the Dead," which veered from full-throttle punk to evil psychedelica and back. The song's structure allowed for flashy guitar theatrics, and Troubadour didn't disappoint. Anchoring the six-minute behemoth was
Adam Thacker Drew Bailey, who was in fine form throughout the night. ThackerBailey nailed every part of Dave Grohl's technical drum work in the Songs for the Deaf material but never overplayed on the less-demanding songs.
The only complaint is that they ignored Nick Oliveri's hardcore tunes such as "You Think I Ain't Worth a Dollar But I Feel Like A Millionaire" and "Tension Head." Still, it was a winning set that did justice to the thunderous Queens of the Stone Age catalog and capped the evening off nicely.
Blind Eyes setlist
1. Gold Dust Woman 2. Rhiannon 3. Dreams 4. Somebody's Gonna Get Their Head Kicked In Tonight 5. Landslide 6. Gypsy 7. Go Your Own Way
Troubadour Dali setlist
1. Feel Good Hit of the Summer 2. The Lost Art of Keeping a Secret 3. In My Head 4. Make It Wit Chu 5. Song for the Dead 6. No One Knows 7. Auto Pilot 8. Go With the Flow