When a band kicks off a set with a cover of Beyonce Knowles, ‘Crazy in Love,’ you know you’re in for an entertaining night of music. And when that band is the Rustic Overtones, yeah, you’re pretty much guaranteed.
On June 21, the band, whose unique blend of funk, rock, and jazz have garnered themselves national attention with such hits as ‘Combustible,’ ‘Check,’ and ‘C’Mon,’ celebrated the release of their new album ‘Let’s Start a Cult,’ with an enthusiastic show at Port City Music Hall last Thursday that elevated everyone in the room to a higher plane of consciousness through the all-knowing deity of rock (with or without the Koolaid).
Anna and the Diggs, the new group recently formed by Anna Lombard and her Gypsy Tailwind band mates, kicked things off for the night with a set of soulful rhythm and blues songs that struck deep with their passionate delivery and inspired musicianship. Although it may be common knowledge at this point, Lombard truly has one of those voices that will stop you dead in your tracks the moment you hear her sing — it’s that captivating. And with a band that features a kick-ass electric mandolin player, what else could you ask for? Be on the lookout for the band playing around town this summer (July 7 at the L.L Bean 100th Anniversary Celebration in Freeport), and in the meantime be sure to check out their debut EP ‘River Girl.’
And then there were the Rustic Overtones.
What else can you say about a band that has already more than established themselves as one of the most impressive live acts to come out of Maine? Amazing? Energetic? Well-dressed? After last Thursday’s show, I guess I’d have to go with ‘all of the above.’
From the hilariously awesome opener, to the encore of ‘Check,’ the band came out and delivered a non-stop set filled with classic songs from the bands extensive catalog, along with newer cuts from ‘Let’s Start a Cult’ like the rocker ‘Going Out With a Bang/Grande Finale’ and the slow-groove of ‘I Like it Low’ that had the crowd begging for more.
But with a pesky stage barrier in the way, how is a band to show their love and appreciation back? For Dave Gutter, the answer was simple: walk right in.
In what was perhaps the highlight of the set, Gutter stepped down from the stage and made his way into the crowd, leading the audience through a raucous version of ‘Combustible’ that had everyone in attendance chanting along with the song’s chorus and rocking out in collective chaos, before making his way back to the stage and finishing the song’s final verse under a single spotlight in front of the crowd. This was one of those genuine moments you wished happened more at concerts these days, where both the band and audience shared a unique experience that will undoubtedly be remembered regardless of whether it’s uploaded to YouTube or not.
If initiation into the cult of Rustic Overtones is through cheap liquor and rock and roll, consider me a convert. Just don’t make me listen to the new album backwards, that’s where I draw the line.