on the road
into the van, half asleep from 10-plus innings of Red Sox and Yankees
going toe-to-toe for entry into the World Series.
I just can't take it, but turn on the radio anyway,
to see if The Curse will be lifted. One pitch and I know that everything
they've said about the world being unfair is true, all true. Aaron
Boone skies the Yankees toward yet another championship.
battle: Starseed chases the brass donut.
If you want to succeed, maybe you must move to New York or Los
Angeles. Bands chasing the brass donut often up and relocate, too.
But just imagine committing to another city solely to pin your hopes
on capricious fate with a bunch of people you already spend entirely
too much time with.
Sun-stroked Albuquerque band Starseed faces such a decision as
band members set up in Conan's Pub on 39th and Hawthorne, amidst
50 folks who seem oblivious to the sad fact that the BoSox and Cubbies
have lived up to self-defeating tradition once again.
Fate has recently turned impeccable Starseed guitarist Jon Fox
into a Portlander, and it's up to the rest of the four-piece to
decide if they should all move up to Portland to keep the band alive.
There are superficial warning signs that this might not be a good
passes the jam.
Cynics will suppose that a band with a new CD titled Way Skies
(that some unnamed soul described as "Blind Melon meets Starship")
is in for an uphill battle. Further upping the counter-intuitive
ante, this group has been described as a jam band that doesn't jam.
And, in a small town where you can see probably 90 bands a night,
do we really need another group treading well-worn territory that
may just fall through the cracks?
Sadly, since the tour is winding down, you'll have to check out
the CD (www.starseedmusic.com)
or take my word for it: this band is an REI-clad super-hiker on
a well-worn path.
I tend to like a bit of artifice with my rock, but Starseed is
all new-generation, keepin' it real, working-class style in baseball
Ts and jeans. Nevertheless, the group backs up every move with relaxed
skill that blows away the opening act.
It's true that there's a bit of East Coast Corridor Hootie to Starseed's
vibe, but the jam band that doesn't jam makes that vibe their own.
Adam Schraft sings passionately (about what I can't tell, because
I can rarely hear the vocals at these shows), working the stage,
bouncing around like a seasoned pro and busting out some credible
white-boy rhymes to boot.
When not rapping, he and drummer Charis Hurst often harmonize,
sounding as good as if they were sitting down singing on a quiet
couch somewhere. The songs, emphasizing earthy, catchy harmonies,
also do the syncopated clock thing, swinging smoothly to bassist
Jonathan Trause's tasteful, tight pop and slap. He even picks out
clever root-notes to hit on the downbeat.
The songs don't jam, but they do know their when, what and how
each one setting heads bobbing, ending before they out-stay
their welcome, leaving you wanting more.
go: Starseed visits Portland.
Even the conga/bongos guest percussionist (usually a red flag for
cheese) is utterly tight and tasteful, while Fox appears to have
no ego (one in a million, as lead guitar goes), playing only for
Sure, there are thousands of other bands doing the same thing,
but how many of them do it this comfortably? Starseed is a well-oiled
machine working a little October magic. Whatever its fate, I'm glad
I caught the show.