By Erik Badia
Judging by their performance at Mulcahy’s, the “new kids” on the jam band scene, Tea Leaf Green, should have a long and prosperous road ahead of them. Comprised of four young musicians from San Francisco, Tea Leaf Green, like most other jam bands, tours constantly. In addition to the usual Mountain Jam, Bonnaroo, and 10,000 Lakes festivals, Tea Leaf Green has filled their schedule from January to October with shows at dozens of different venues around the country.
The quartet is a lively group with plenty of emotion and rock to spare. They certainly lit up the small but enthusiastic crowd at Mulcahy’s with their funky outfits — all members of the band donned 50s era black horn-rimed glasses, with bassist Ben Chambers sporting a traditional English Guard top hat — and their funky sound, which has a lot of focus on the keyboard and guitar. The group didn’t waste any time with introductions or stories, they got right into the music.
While many of their guitar riffs are not very complex, they are definitely catchy, and they rock unasbashedly. Trevor Garrod was wailing away on the keyboard, with excellent solos that bounced off guitarist Josh Clark’s guitar chords and solos. Both Garrod and Clark belted out vocals that had energy and passion. They were firing on all cylinders and working in unison, making the music smooth and cohesive. The two were really jamming out, with both whipping up long, unabridged solos, making for an excellent mix of keyboard and guitar. Bassist Chambers was stellar, performing exceptional solos that added a great twang to their over sound. Scott Rager on the drums tied everything together quite nicely — nothing too fancy, just a consistent, superb rhythm.
All told, the band works well together and it’s easy to see that their constant touring has really brought this group to the next level and given them a lot of confidence in performing live shows. They look completely comfortable on stage, and it’s easy to see that these guys just love making music. It all melded together for an exceedingly good show, with some highlights of the night being an exquisite performance of “Red Ribbons,” a deep song. The dueling vocals of Garrod and Clark worked perfectly and sounded very succinct. The crowd was really into it, as they were for another fan favorite, “Piss It Away,” a cheeky song that has a great rhythm and a serious connotation.