Howlin’ Rain + Vetiver @ Cafe du Nord, SF 12/29/12
If you happen to catch Vetiver and Howlin’ Rain at a show together, you have a 50/50 chance of taking a nap and/or enjoying a face melt.
Vetiver drew a more, shall we say, grown-up crowd than some of the other act
s you might find on a Saturday night at Cafe du Nord. Vetiver’s sunny folk tunes are well-received by an ultra-mellow audience, who must come to appreciate the band’s solid, refined musicianship over any sort of performance. Though the Bay Area band clearly demonstrates a mastery of their instruments and genre, and they seem to pour love into what they play, we’ve seen more edge and excitement from seated orchestra members. A little more movement on stage and some sort of connection with the crowd you play to would be appreciated.
Howlin’ Rain, on the other hand, commands the stage like a captain and his steady fleet of the rock armada. Though their albums don’t disappoint, this is a band meant for the live scene.
When someone yells “We love you guys!” and “You guys rock!” while the band is still in the middle of soundcheck, you know you’re in for a rawkus display of wailing guitars and rooftop-blowing jams. Summoning the forefathers who made San Francisco rock ‘n roll a force to be reckoned with in times of jam bands and psychedelia, we might swear we saw the ghosts of Hendrix and Garcia dancing behind Howlin’ Rain like puppet masters pulling strings, as the band paid ample tribute to the rock gods of past and present.
While you can get basically the same Vetiver experience listening to their CD, we’d advise against ever missing the opportunity to see Howlin’ Rain live.
Check out all the photos from the evening HERE.