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Thursday, February 24

Review: ALO w/ Nathan Moore - February 20th, 2011 - Crystal Bay Club - Tahoe, NV

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 ALO w/ Nathan Moore - February 20th, 2011 - Crystal Bay Club - Tahoe, NV

Words and Photos: William Bello
Great! I'm all psyched up, ready to go...weather permitting. During the night there was 6 feet of powder falling, all the way down to the 4,000' level. Great. I've got a 2 wheel drive pickup with four baldy tires, and no chains. Good to go! Up and over the mountains, over Donner Pass- which had just opened a few hours before. No problems getting there, but getting home is another matter. Crystal Bay is a quaint little snow town, catering to snowboarders and skiers. I arrived at 3:00 PM, and tried to get a room at The Biltmore. No go. The entire town is sold out to the skiers and boarders because of the big weekend, and 6 feet of new powder. So...getting a room was out.

Temperature at 8:00PM was a crispy 14F, and the snow was starting to fall again. Oh boy.

I enter the lobby of the Crystal Bay Club, and proceeded to the show- (Used to be an 8 lane bowling alley up until the 50s', then converted to a performance stage). Standing at the velvet rope are 3 security guys, the owners of the club and the club GM. All of them wearing badges. But they don't need no stinkin' badges- because they look like they have nicknames like "Johnny the Screw" or "Frankie the Thumb". Trust me, I don't think you really wanna mess with these guys in their own club. I'm sure they had bit parts in The Godfather.

So I walked up to the senior (I guess) guy in front of the line and say "Hey- I'm William Bello, and, um- I'm supposed to be on some kind of list"
He says to me-"You got your ID?"- I complied...
"Hey-" he says, "You're on the list"...
And now I was good to go...

Nathan Moore opened the show with his acoustic guitar, playing his usual folk/americana fare which started kind of slow but then he really got the crowd swayin' with his solo groove. He looked like he was having a good time, too- as he was getting his hair combed onstage by his beautiful partner- it just kind of set a mood. Relaxed, but definitely warming up the crowd. I thoroughly enjoyed his set.

It was a good 45 minutes until ALO took the stage, but as soon as the did they immediately got the crowd to shake their butts- getting to us all and Liberating the Animal Inside. The concert seemed to have 2 separate golden moments- the first was when they sang "Walls of Jericho"- the players, from Lebo's masterful and diligent guitar work, Brogan's wicked quick and talented drumming to the rapidly changing bass lines of Adam's, they definitely had control of the crowd- excellent! I'm thinking that the energy level in The Crown Room was a bit more than previous venues, due to it's quaint and intimate qualities. That's always good! "Lady Loop" was over the top, Gill's singing was soulful and pure as usual and this proved most true on the Al Greene cover that they played which came in the form of "Love and Happiness".


The second set like the first was about an hour long- kind of short...but that's me. And there was another golden moment, when "Lady Loop" was (kind of) morphed into "Maria"- the crowd was really getting into the act, and it was becoming contagious.

For the encore Nathan Moore joined them as he has multiple times during previous shows for "Eye of the Tiger" a Survivor cover and "Funky Town" which was pardon the pun but a funky and solid way to end the show.

While Zach Gill didn't have a Hammond B3- but a Nord Stage instead which did just fine- I think the true Hammond has that extra bit of "snottiness" to the sound, and a bit more "electric-purple".  Hammond clones are getting better each day... and he was moving up that keyboard really well. Apparently, Gill doesn't think a Hammond is worth the extra 900 pounds.

Personally: I really like the 4 day-and-more-day events -you know the kind- Bobolink, High Sierra, Las Tortugas and I've been lucky enough to have seen ALO a few times before.
One night events are definitely not as fulfilling as the long, strange trips of the festivals, but "ALO in a can" works out well for the "urban hippie with today's responsibilities".  Afterward I would have preferred to stay until sunrise- but the storm was pressing me... so off into the snow I drove.

Setlist and Notes:
Set I start at ~10:15pm
Chilly Chile - with an excellent Lebo jam
Isla Vista > Try
Walls of Jericho
Love and Happiness*
Man of the World
Lady Loop

Set II start at ~11.25pm
Shape Shifter
Maria
Do You Like My Pecs
Celery Stalker
Girl
Plastic Bubble
Hot Tub > Pirates of Rock > Hot Tub
BBQ > Eye of the Tiger > Funky Town **

* cover (Al Green)
** With Nathan Moore