6/21/14 – The Sinclair

Immediately after I arrived at The Sinclair I thought I had made some mistake. A few parties were there to listen to the Boston-based Ross Livermore Band (RLB), a young, ground-gaining quartet, but The Sinclair was nearly empty. While men in flannels, couples with comparable tattoo-to-skin ratios, and dear cups of alcohol lined the fringes of the floor, the middle was mostly deserted. Simple conversations contributed to the jovial din, though they failed to fill the high-ceilinged room. But, despite the shockingly low attendance, most seemed excited by this opportunity to catch RLB live.

Some of the excitement can be attributed to RLB’s new project; every month, starting in January, the band has released a never before seen music video recorded live in the studio. At a few minutes every four weeks, it feels like the band’s crawling along at a snail’s pace, so I hope the music continues to hook viewers. So far, I’d say it has. Although the video releases are mostly covers, the Ross Livermore sound unquestionable shapes the songs anew. “Valerie,” “Oh! Darlin’,” and others are coolly refurbished.

RLB was the second opener for Sister Sparrow & the Dirty Birds, so by the finish of the first opener, Gold Blood & Associates (GB&A), attendance had risen ever so slightly and then plateaued. After GB&A’s pseudo-drunken antics – their singer channeled Tom Waits but with excess anger and obtrusive scowls – and their slightly sloppy horn section, RLB was a cohesive and friendly breath of fresh air. (To be fair, scowling faces and sloppy playing fit GB&A’s fun, albeit haphazard way of expressing themselves. Also, their bass player was phenomenal; center stage, chin-beard like no other, he danced and danced and grooved and grooved.) Ross Livermore, however, the singer, guitar player, and namesake of the group, had a beard of his own.

And this beard made Ross look like that amiable uncle you love visiting because he probably has knickknacks and snacks for you. Every member of the band, in fact, wore a cheerful smile, as if there were no other place they’d rather be. Their enthusiasm onstage disseminated through the venue until you couldn’t help but nod your head and tap your foot. Their sound is fairly simple, but good. Driven by upbeat drum and bass playing, subtly distorted, funky piano (sometimes organ) licks, and solid guitar work, RLB were best when they made you dance. Not every song gave this suggestion, but several songs did, and they were the highlights. Original tunes “Fools in Love” and “Work Song” were among the most groovy and earworm-y, and the cover “Valerie” worked its magic, as expected. There was one good thing about the near-open dance floor: ample room to boogie. More than a few listeners took advantage of the spacious floor and judgement-free environment.

Among all that makes RLB so entertaining live, Ross’s impassioned vocals and evocative facial expressions may be the primary draw. He injects a pallet of energies into his music, nuanced and playful vibes, simultaneously making it his own and sharing it with onlookers and listeners. It’s too bad there weren’t more of them in attendance, though I suspect that will change someday. For the meantime, at least there’s room to dance.

Ross Livermore Band: on the Rise, Slowly but Surely
Pros
  • Friendly, fun atmosphere
  • Couldn't help but move (when songs worked)
  • Personal and likable band
Cons
  • Low attendance, would have benefitted from more participation
  • Songs occasionally fall flat
  • Wish it had been longer
7.2Overall Score
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2 Responses

  1. Kate Danforth

    Facts are a little off. Change it for the world is an original.

    Reply

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