The Long Winters | 04.07.07

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Between making fun of boyish bass player Eric Corson and a yawning member of the audience, Roderick wagged his tongue without a hint of self-consciousness, expressing gratitude for getting to play on the same stage as Chuck Berry and taking a number of requests from the audience and fellow tourmates.

 

Blueberry Hill, St. Louis 

The St. Louis winter hasn't been so much long as it's been revisited, yet the Long Winters felt right at home upon their own return to what John Roderick prophesied as the future "epicenter of the country." I don't know about that, but the crowd definitely appreciated Roderick's love for what he declared as "one of the first cities to embrace the Long Winters." After Saturday night's performance, it was clear that those who didn't already feel the same way about the band would soon change their minds due to their infectious melodies and sense of humor.

Following the warm-ups by Stars of Track and Field and the Broken West, Roderick took the stage looking like a thinner version of Monterey Jack from Rescue Rangers (anyone?). Relying primarily on songs from 2006's outstanding LP, Putting the Days to Bed, Roderick and Co. mixed in tracks from each of their previous two full-lengths, as well as from last Fall's Ultimatum EP. It was obvious from the start that the Long Winters are a hard touring band, mostly because of Roderick's outgoing presence on stage. Between making fun of boyish bass player Eric Corson and a yawning member of the audience, Roderick wagged his tongue without a hint of self-consciousness, expressing gratitude for getting to play on the same stage as Chuck Berry and taking a number of requests from the audience and fellow tourmates.

The early set featured pop gold from Putting the Days to Bed, with "Teaspoon" getting hipster heads nodding, and "Hindsight" mellowing everybody out with its smooth organ backing. The thick middle of the show took the audience from the Long Winters' not-too-long-ago early days with "Carparts," before moving into favorites "Stupid" and "The Sound of Coming Down" off of 2003's When I Pretend to Fall. Although a bulk of the crowd was familiar with, and appreciative of, the band's earlier material, it was the newest hits that got the biggest cheers. "Fire Island, AK" delivered after constant requests, and "Pushover" further implanted itself in my brain with Roderick singing, "I just want you to say, ‘C'mon, wish me luck!'"

After switching over to an acoustic guitar for "Honest," Roderick returned to rock the end of the set with "Rich Wife" and "It's a Departure," the latter riffing the crowd and leaving them, as the bandleader joked, "barely wanting more." With shows like those on Saturday night, The Long Winters should have no problem raising their expectations. From their smart-ass take on affability to their incessant stacking of catchy rock, this is a band that will always be loved in St. Louis. | Dave Jasmon

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