Click the photo for an audio slideshow. Photos by Michael Alan Goldberg.
Brightblack Morning Light, with Mariee Sioux and Women and Children Date: February 24, 2007 Venue: The Triple Door
As the dinner plates clinked and the two-thirds capacity crowd settled into the curved banquettes of the swanky Triple Door, the three hippies of wandering slo-jam combo Brightblack Morning Light took the stage — which was decorated only with vintage gear and, at the front, a bundle of large sticks propped up in teepee shape — and eased their way into an hour-long set that consisted of about five songs.
The math tells you that each number was lengthy — meandering, hypnotizing, trippy, too. Every tune was more of a sigh than a statement; Rachael "Rabob" Hughes' Fender Rhodes piano constructing the gauziest of grooves with the drummer's subdued, malleted thumps, while Nathan "Nabob" Shineywater's muted guitar melodies were like underwater mating calls to psychedelic whales. His vocals were drowsy, cobwebby; when he and Hughes harmonized it was a thing of beauty, rendered even more divine by the Triple Door's pristine sound system. (The rare times Shineywater did address the crowd between songs, it was in a stoner's croak -- at one point, he called for the release of imprisoned Native American activist Leonard Peltier; another time, he mumbled something about hanging out after the show with anyone who had some reefer.)
The vibe of the set was so mellow, in fact, that the very sporadic moments of aggressiveness in the music -- a solid floor-tom smack, a forceful finger on a key, a strongly picked guitar string -- were like thunderclaps during a gentle summer rainshower, sudden and fleeting. As laid-back as the sonics they were presented with, the audience responded warmly, if not overly enthusiastically, to each song.
Of course, one person's "This is as boring as C-SPAN" is another person's "Dude, I'm totally blissed out," which was epitomized by the couple sitting next to me — curled up in her chair, she had dozed off, while he stared, glassy eyed, into his pint of expensive Belgian beer, an odd half-smile on his face.
As for the openers, solo-girl-with-guitar Mariee Sioux was captivating in her own odd,