LIVE REVIEW: Blitzen Trapper @ the Fillmore 6/30
It’s difficult to place Blitzen Trapper. Many have argued that they belong to this or that genre, or they sound like this or that band. The truth is that Blitzen Trapper play a whole variety of ’70s music, but with a modern twist. With their latest album, Destroyer of the Void (via Sub Pop), they also take a spin on prog-rock. Based on the enthusiastic audience at the Fillmore, they do that well too.
The Moondoggies opened the show (signed to Hardly Artâ€”a subsidiary of Sub Pop). The Moondoggies, like Blitzen Trapper, have the ability to span many genres: they started with some country-ish songs, moved to very modern alternative rock, then rock-n-roll, back to country, and even surf rock. Their music is well crafted, but their stage presence and vocals needed some work: their bass player almost seemed like he would rather be somewhere else, and you could barely hear both their singers sing (especially when compared to Eric Earley’s strong vocals an hour later). The more alternative rock songs they performed were more my flavor.
Blitzen Trapper opened their set with a rock version of their hit “Black River Killer.” The mood among the crowd was already high at that point, and it was maintained with tracks like “Laughing Lover,” “Fire & Fast Bullets,” “God & Suicide,” and “Love and Hate.”
Their next song, “Destroyer of the Void,” actually destroyed my mood rather than the void. The fast/slow/fast/slow nature of the track was dragging for far too long for my own taste. The track also lacks a strong catchy melody, making it excruciating to listen for too long. In my opinion, this track is a “trying too hard” song, and doesn’t feel natural at all.
The show continued with more songs from both the new and older album, with a few highs and lows in between. At some point Eric Earley was alone in the stage singing the band’s well known ballads, like “Furr.” Among these songs performed was also an unreleased track, titled “Taking It Easy Too Long” (click here to see video).
The band came back on stage to perform the rest of their up-beat songs, left the stage, the crowd demanded more, and the band came back to perform at least another five. Overall, I think that the tracks from “Furr” generated more positive heat than the tracks from their new album. Maybe because “Furr” is more catchy, or maybe because people have heard it for longer, and feel more comfortable with it. Only time will tell.
Earley has a very loud, strong voice, however he doesn’t always control it on stage (and most of the time I think he does that on purpose, rather than because he can’t). Especially while performing “Wild Mountain Nation” it would have been nicer to stay on key/lyrics more than he did. But there’s not much else to critique. The band, and especially Earley, are very energetic on stage, and they’re able to spread that energy with their audience. I can’t really imagine anyone leaving the Fillmore last night and not feeling fully satisfied from the show Blitzen Trapper put on.