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blind-pilot.jpgBlind Pilot
With Loch Lomond and Grizzly Circus
Live at the Casbah

I used to live in San Diego, but any dude who was over 21 when his girl wasn’t knows that until then, you are stuck at all-ages shows. I was no exception, so I had never been to The Casbah before. I was both excited and annoyed at the same time. An annoying doorman detracted from the decent drink prices, Pabst Tall Boys, and my lovely date poking Grizzly Circus’ Rhodes piano when they weren’t looking, effectively becoming a hidden member of the band. Now, the first think I noticed about Grizzly Circus was the suh-weet Gibson Les Paul and Gibson semi-hollow and the vintage Rhodes. Then they started playing and I have the following observations:

– The lead guitarist looks like Clint Howard.
– Both guitarists were fantastic musicians.
– The band had some roots in country/folk, but the singer’s voice just didn’t click for me.

Loch Lomond is most definitely from Portland, where the thrift store look has not yet hit ironic and emo still means argyle sweaters, not reverse mullets. Complete with several multi-instrumentalists, Loch Lomond burst into fantastic vocal harmonies, vibraphone melodies and a clarinet. Thick glasses, thin frames and a viola makes this perfect for all the coffee house kids ready to finally turn off the Arcade Fire for the first time in two years.

Blind Pilot, and this surprised me, had an assload of people singing along. Blind Pilot both stays within the constraints of being a pop band, while sneaking in an upright bass and a variety of other instruments, such as a trumpet or banjo. Another Portland-based band, Blind Pilot is Israel Nebeker (guitar/vocals) and Ryan Dobrowski on drums, with some friends helping out with the rest of the instrumental duties.

From the tall blonde dude in the front’s face, you can tell that Blind Pilot definitely speaks to a crowd, and they speak back. Blind Pilot is hard to define, which you can usually do by saying who they tour with, but with upcoming tours with The Hold Steady/Counting Crows and a separate stint with The Decemberists, it’s really up to you to go check them out yourself at www.blindpilotmusic.com.

–Jonathan Yost