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Nightcrawler: Can't Find a Better Band

Twenty-plus years after Ten, Pearl Jam shows no signs of slowing; Sighs matter.

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Tuesday, November 05, 2013

The name of the new disc and tour—Lightning Bolt—may suggest a quick, intense burst of energy.

But as Pearl Jam pushed its way past the 30-song, three-hour mark at Harford’s XL Center on Friday, Oct. 25, it was evident to all in the sold-out audience that this evening would be a much more prolonged, sustained sonic attack.

Lightning—or songs from it performed live, more specifically—struck the set list on four occasions. The haunting show opener, “Pendulum” (featuring guitarist Mike McCready bowing his guitar a la vintage Jimmy Page), and the anthemic title track nestled in nicely with live staples “Corduroy” and “Even Flow.”

(Literally) dyed-in-the-wool/flannel-days fans were treated to a rare performance of “Chloe Dancer/Crown Of Thorns”—a song originally recorded by the band Mother Love Bone, which included Pearl Jam members Jeff Ament and Stone Gossard. That band’s lead singer, Andrew Wood, died of a heroin overdose days before the scheduled release of the debut disc and was the focus of the tribute/one-off Temple of The Dog project that featured Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder.

Speaking of Vedder, the alt-rock icon is equally famous for speaking his mind and for his trademark reedy baritone and primal howl. Still, the Crawler must admit he was slightly concerned as the band brought the volume down and began vamping, the proverbial red carpet for sojourns into the singer’s mind.

It’s no small secret that Vedder is a member of Red Sox nation and a close friend of former Sox General Manager Theo Epstein. He had even reportedly called his old pal for tix and been attending games and singing the club’s praises at previous concerts in the Worcester area.

With the Sox doing so well in the Series, would the visiting Seattle-ite get caught up in the moment and not know that he was smack dab at the epicenter of the Sox/Yankees Mason-Dixon line that is Hartford? In a word, no. In fact, he wished to expound on much loftier topics this night.

“There’s not that many of them, really, they’re just loud,” he said of the NRA and the need for gun control after the shootings in Connecticut’s Sandy Hook. “So maybe if we can be loud, not be afraid to be loud, we can get some more laws and restrictions in place so something like this never has to happen again.”

In what is becoming a bona fide Hartford happening, the band also broke into Van Halen’s “Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love” during one of its several encores.

“We hadn’t played it live before coming here in 2010,” Vedder recalled. “And as soon as we walked in tonight, we all looked at each other and kinda said, ‘Yeah, let’s do it again.”’

 

In other news, a small coup for the Luthier’s Co-op (luthiers-coop.com) in Easthamp in that the intimate instrument shop has scored two performances of note this week.

The first comes courtesy of Robert LaRoche on Nov. 8. A founding member of the Valley-based/former Virgin Records group The Sighs, LaRoche has gone on to score the title track for Quentin Tarantino’s Hello Ride and performed at the Montreaux Jazz Festival. He’ll be accompanied by master violinist David Perales. Opener Ray Mason joins them at the Co-op as well as the next night at Springfield’s Bing Arts Center.

The following Tuesday, Nov. 12, Jane Herdship and Carrie Ashley Hill come to the Co-op in a cooperative effort to support one another in their new solo careers—both were members of the Brooklyn-based Desert Stars.

 

Capping off this week’s installment: a Max Cap homecoming for “yardcore” kings Fear Nuttin Band.

“All three bands on the bill [Philly’s The Movement and Natty Vibes from Hawaii will join FNB] started this tour at the California Roots Carolina Sessions festival,” Fear Nuttin six-stringer Chris Regan revealed. “This is the first year this massive festival made its way to the East Coast, and we’re happy to bring our touring buds to our hometown.”

Tix are $12 in advance, $15 at the door and available at fearnuttinband.com.•

Send correspondence to Nightcrawler, P.O. Box 427, Somers, CT 06071; fax to (860) 394-4262 or email garycarra@aol.com.

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