Everest – Big Name, Big Psychedelic Sound
Some bands use their album release show as an excuse to drag out as many bodies as they can and pack a desirable venue in order to convince the owners that they’re sufficiently popular to get another gig there. Monday night psychedelic rockers Everest did just the opposite, playing theirs – for Ownerless, the album they’ll be flogging opening for Neil Young on tour this summer – for a small but attentive crowd of media on the roof of a Chelsea hotel that hasn’t opened yet. Believe the hype – this band is excellent. It makes sense that ole Shakey would like them. The three-guitar band has the early 70s acid blues thing down – although they don’t overdo it – along with the occasional detour into 90s Wilco-style alt-country or even early Tom Petty janglerock. But their biggest selling point is their long, uneasily swirling psychedelic jams. There were a whole bunch of them in this show and they were all excellent. The opening song shifted from riff-rock to hints of the Stooges and then the Black Angels with a less opiated, biting minor-key sensibility, building to a sunbaked swirl of interwoven guitars as the bass snaked its way up and around. Aching minor-key riffage anchored the next one, pulsing and reverberating and ending cold. As the set went on, they evoked both the Church at their trippiest as well as Pink Floyd at their most direct: washes of organ led into a hypnotic spacerock groove, stormclouds across the horizon only hinting at thunder that never arrived. A soul-tinged number evoked the Grateful Dead but without that band’s heavy two-drum thud; and just when just when it seemed they were headed into a terminally boring Coldplay/U2 vamp, the bassist took a ferocious, machine-gun solo. After a brisk riff-rocker and a casually swaying, backbeat-driven number that sounded like the late Bob Welch trying his hand at samba rock, they went back to the moody murk for a deliciously apprehensive anthem, highwire slide guitar balanced against punchy bass leading to an absolutely blissful, echoey solo straight out of the vintage Jerry Garcia playbook. These guys are tight beyond belief and cover all the bases: classic rock? Check. Dreamy atmospherics? Doublecheck. And plenty of improvisation for the Jambase crowd, and enough hooks to keep the casual listeners in the game. In addition to their Neil Young tour, Everest will be at B.B. King’s at the end of November – watch this space.