, attached to 2018-12-28

Review by Midcoaster

Midcoaster Of course, the Set Your Soul Free performance is a liquid fire, molten goo of a performance keeping this set at the top of my winter playlist. I really like where 2018 drove the band. There are a lot of gizmos behind the altered, sometimes synthie, sounds, but these are happening in a way I like. Along with traditional wah-wahs and watery Leslie sounds, the old fire alarm loops and screaming coils, there are some sounds that are genuinely new. This summer, I thought, of course, that they were leading to Curveball newness, a chance to revamp, but you know how that story ends.

One curious thing from Set II is the new spin on Swept Away. On several relistens, I’ve found myself bending an ear to a another time’s forgotten space, thinking, Who or what is that tone? The other day, while running, I decided that it sounded like a Nels Cline/Jeff Tweedy guitar tone from “Hate it Here” off Wilco’s Sky Blue Sky LP. Heck, even Page gets in on the action, hitting keys that register with either Mikael Jorgensen or Pat Sansone’s electric keys (not sure which). Maybe only my addled brain hears that, but to me, there’s a strong Venn Diagram of style, there.

One of the more surprising Baker’s Dozen jams, Swept Away suddenly has new life in 3.0. It provides a lovely bridge into The Final Hurrah, and a solid Fuego follows on its heels. While Shade is on shaky ground in spots, I admire what the band has been doing of late. The massivist jam portion of this set is built around 3.0 tunes. I’m grateful for that as it freshens the mix, pointing in new directions. This new energy seems to super charge the old favorites, and that’s how this second set closes out.

It’s a good time to be a fan!


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