G. Love | 4.29.11

Would all of the older music have died an untimely death, with only a few songs pulled out to appease long-term fans?




The Pageant, St. Louis, MO

 The G. Love show at The Pageant on April 29th didn’t start out ideally. Planned openers The Belle Brigade had transportation issues and couldn’t make the show. So, instead of them, the band that had been scheduled for The Halo Bar directly after the concert were also booked for the opening slot – St. Louis natives The Pernikoff Brothers. Over the course of the evening, though, it became clear that this was not a harbinger of more bad news. 

I was, admittedly, not familiar with The Pernikoff Brothers before the show but I was very happy to find that they far surpassed any expectations I may have had.  The songs were thoughtful, well-written, and varied in both tone and content.  The brothers share vocal duties, and both have good voices, but the times when they’re harmonizing are when they really show what they’re worth. The audience was engaged in their set as well – both people on the floor and in the seats, ranging from heads bobbing to the music to full-on dancing. They’ve recently released an album, On My Way,that they recorded in Nashville – and it’s obvious that they’re indeed on their way to great things. 

G. Love took the stage shortly after The Pernikoff Brothers left for their second show of the night at The Halo Bar. I had seen G. Love about two years ago at The Pageant, but not since his most recent album’s release. Given the differences in the new album, I was incredibly curious to see how the live show would be presented – would all of the older music have died an untimely death, with only a few songs pulled out to appease long-term fans? 

I was relieved – and delighted – to see that wasn’t the case.  The music is different, no doubt, and the first three songs were all from the most recent release Fixin’ To Die, but the next 14 songs were not.  We got, in some ways, a night of the best of G. Love. “Cold Beverage,” (with some guest mouth harp work by Rockin Jake, who stayed for the next song as well) was fantastic. “Booty Call,” was as well, though it wasn’t hurt by the fact that it followed a stellar version of, “Superhero Brother,” – and both songs were performed solo as part of the encore, while the rest of the band took a break. 

The set ended how it started – with songs from the newest album. We got to hear, “Just Fine,” (which was on the set list, but also was requested by a very earnest looking young man in the front row) and the album’s title track. I feared, I must admit, that the cover of, “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover,” wouldn’t make the cut for the night, but the band finished with it, and it was spectacular.  Everyone was at the peak of their enthusiasm and by the end of the song, it had become a sing-a-long that finished the concert on a fairly perfect note. 

What I found interesting about G. Love’s performance was the fact that despite barely speaking on stage other than to say hello and introduce the band members, he seemed to have some of the best rapport with an audience I’ve seen. Perhaps it was because he stayed seated for most of his performance, but it managed to be both lively and intimate.  He did grab hands with quite a few audience members, much to their obvious delight, but it was more how he performs.  He plays guitar as well as you’d expect someone who’s played professionally for 20 years to play, but with the enthusiasm of a teenage boy who has figured out his first few chords. 

It’s no doubt that the studio albums will continue to change and be different from the albums that gave him his start, but there’s little worry in my mind that the fire that’s present in his live shows will suffer for it. In fact, it will just add more facets to an already brilliant performance.

| Teresa Montgomery

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