Moon Roots/Dirty Deville/Rospoem at The Blind Pig
This past Wednesday, Jan. 9, I went to the Blind Pig in Ann Arbor to check out a few bands that were playing there. I walked in halfway through the first set. The band playing was called Moon Roots.
Moon Roots is a three-piece band featuring William Dark on drums, Noah Hermann on bass and David Stratman on his Gibson guitar as well as vocals. Originally from Chelsea, the band is currently based in Ann Arbor. "We just want to have a fun time, entertain people and hopefully not become broke from it," said Noah Hermann.
Heavily influenced by Umphrey's Mcgee, String Cheese Incident and Lotus, Moon Roots plays a jam style, open to improvisation and reinterpretation. During their set, I couldn't help being reminded of The Grateful Dead, along with the bands mentioned earlier. Oh, and throw a little Sublime in there too. Moon Roots shines in the instrumental portions of their songs, but that doesn't mean that David Stratman is inadequate as a vocalist. In fact, just the opposite is true. He sings with excellent range and occasionally breaks out into sing-song rap, which is where I heard the Sublime influence. Moon Roots utilizes tempo changes mid-song, going from uptempo to downtempo without breaking a sweat. William Dark, the drummer, plays with an effortless style, maintaining a consistent rhythm while having no trouble playing the multiple styles asked of him.
Moon Roots will be playing next Saturday, Jan. 12, at Elmo's Hideaway in Ann Arbor. They will also be playing at the Michigan Theater on Feb. 8.
The next band to perform was called Dirty Deville. They are a four-piece band featuring Adam Snyder on vocals and guitar, Dan Selig on lead guitar, Steve Hirst on drums and Tom Neal on bass. They perform with an in-control, casual stage presence, projecting confidence and an aura of relaxed fun throughout their entire set.
Influenced by a range of versatile sounds, including but not exclusive to Umphrey's Mcgee, Ben Harper, Primus, Deftones, Jimi Hendrix and Muse, their sound recognizes their rock roots while maintaining a progressive attitude towards the music they make. Their last song demonstrated this perfectly. The song was an inspired instrumental post-rock masterpiece, perfectly composed and played with heart. Their set had just enough attitude to remind the listener that, hey, rock isn't dead.
The final band to perform was called Rospoem (pronounced Rose Poem). Rospoem is a five-piece band featuring Riley Bean on drums, Cole Corey on guitar and vocals, Ron Thieleman on bass, Michael Skib on keys, percussion and backup vocals, Matias Sturla on guitar, as well as Rob Barger, the band's personal sound engineer. Hailing from Ann Arbor, except for Matias, who is originally from Buenos Aires, the band cites influences ranging from Radiohead and Bon Iver to The Antlers and Pink Floyd. One of their songs was prefaced by the entire band babbling into microphones simultaneously, creating an eerie, multi-layered vocal collage into which the song was then introduced. Rospoem is a very dramatic band with sad undertones that transform into uplifting high-energy jams. They are very good at building upon a theme until their songs reach a climactic, high energy, frenetic pace, all the while being held together by Cole Corey's spacey, Thom Yorke-esque vocals. "We'd like to start opening for a touring band soon," said Cole Corey. "That's the next step. Convincing an established band to take us on." Considering how polished their sound already is, that next step can't be too far in the future.