Friday, December 28, 2007

The Alternate Routes - Live at the Blender Theater at Gramercy, NYC 12/15/07

On a recent Saturday night, I was lucky enough to finally see The Alternate Routes live at the Blender Theater at Gramercy. On a weekend packed with Christmas parties and other events, I had just enough time to show up for their opening set before the Clarks came on afterwards.

Their debut album, Good and Reckless and True, came out last spring, but I didn't get into them until this summer. An album that is as solid as it is fun, GaRaT easily became one of my favoirte CDs this year. After missing a couple of shows earlier this year, I was excited to get to catch them in person for the first time.

To be totally honest, I didn't know what to expect live. Their album is very well produced and clean sounding, which made me wary of seeing them live. However, thier stage presence was incredible as they tore through their eight-song setlist. They played my three favorite tracks "Ordinary," "Aftermath," and "Time Is a Runaway" with precision, but the other songs are really what elevated their credibility in my book. A great song off their album, "Going Home with You" can get lost behind the other previously mentioned standouts. However, as the third song of the night, this was where the show switched gears. Guitarist Eric Donnelly stepped out and delivered a jaw dropping performance as he ripped through his notes and guitar strings (he popped one or two during this song) on some of the most ridiculous solos I've ever seen. With a scary amount of control, Donnelly was flying through notes faster than I could watch his fingers in one of the best live guitar performances you could imagine.

Vocalist Tim Warren also showcased his great voice, proving that his talent is not limited to the studio. His smooth and clear sound projected perfectly over the band's coordinated instrumentation. He also brought a fun-loving attitude to the group, introducing "My Old Lady, She Ain't Home, She Won't Cry, 'Cause She Don't Know" by explaining "everyone's got a song about cheating on your wife -- this one's ours."

Speaking of "My Old Lady...", this song was good enough to have closed out the show. They still had not played my favorite song, "Aftermath," but when they finished "My Old Lady...", I realized they could've walked off the stage then and I still would've been blown away -- it was that good. A hard, raking, foot stomping, call-and-answer song, "My Old Lady..." stole the show. Hopefully, it'll make their next album, which can't come soon enough for me.

If you get a chance, I highly recommend seeing them live; if you can't, go buy their CD and get to know these guys now. I guarantee it won't be long before everyone else does.

  1. Shelly
  2. Time Is a Runaway
  3. Going Home with You
  4. The Future's Nothing New
  5. Say What You Mean What You Say
  6. Ordinary
  7. My Old Lady, She Ain't Home, She Won't Cry, 'Cause She Don't Know
  8. Aftermath

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