Soundtrack of Our Lives, live at the Paradise, March 9, 2009
“It’s great to be back here,” intoned lead Soundtracker Ebbot Lundberg, looking not unlike Brendan Gleeson unconvincingly playing St. Francis of
Assisi, “although I’m not sure if we’re really here yet.” Could have fooled me. They had already powered through a good 30minutes of solid jams from their just-out-in-America double album Communion (Yep Rock), rocking the argyles off the Monday-night crowd.
Still, the hesitancy of Lundberg’s comment spoke to the authenticity of TSOOL’s journey to rock’s psychedelic heart. Judging from the balding pates around me, I’m going to guess that the ’60s and ’70s musical reference points that the band pilfer so liberally were the soundtrack of the lives of most people in attendance, but TSOOL still manage to make their songs relevant (and not just because one of them was about Second Life).
The band’s inclusion of a cherry-picked cover like Nick Drake’s “Fly” suggests a set list decided by committee at a Mojo editorial meeting, but TSOOL are more than just shameless magpies. The nearly two-hour set proved that they had the songs and the chops to sustain an earnest quest for the classic rock grail. More important, there’s an underlying gravity to their psych yearnings. “Broken Imaginary Time,” from 2002’s Behind the Music, was an early highlight, crawling out from under the heavy haze of a churchy organ intro into a solemn death march to the center of the mind, its weepy mantra, “You’re just a lightweight after all,” throbbing with the gravity of drugged-out disillusionment.
Proceedings turned more chipper and uplifting with the Sly Stone-esque whump of “Sister Surround,” which came complete with Lundberg’s impressive approximation of Jagger’s ’65 swagger. And mustachio’d, chest-hair-baring guitarist Mattias Bärjed personified the band’s insane dynamics, whether whipping out an acoustic to serve up arpeggios against Martin Hederos’s harpsichordish piano arrangement or going balls-out ballistic in a fit of backward-bent screaming-eagle fret blazing.
: Live Reviews
, Brendan Gleeson, Nick Drake, Paradise Rock Club, More