Stanton Moore TrioDec. 7, Revolution
Although the Stanton Moore Trio is named after a drummer who plays in numerous other projects, has his own signature series of cymbals, sticks and a prototypical snare nearing the production line, the operative word in the band’s title is “trio.”
Hailing from New Orleans, Moore’s trio blended swamp-boogie fusion jams, traditional Crescent City swing marches and voodoo-trance grooves to a small, yet very affectionate and appreciative audience Sunday at Revolution. All the tables were claimed and plenty of stage front onlookers swayed in unison.
Supporting his latest release “Emphasis (on parenthis),” Moore’s set showcased the vast talents of keyboardist Robert Walter and guitarist Will Bernard. Each had plenty of shining moments, extending jams via simple eye contact, nods and plenty of smiles.
Simply put, the crowd was treated to three lead instruments unified as one machine.
Chemistry and intuition seemed the driving navigational force. Each number progressed with dynamic intensity. No matter how intense and busy the jams became, the foundation for each song stayed true and focused, guided by a constant backbeat that never grew too complex to throw off dancers. As one player went into overdrive, the other two held constant and took turns.
Dynamics are among a band’s strongest asset. Never too loud, thanks to a balanced soundboard mix, Bernard channeled lead solos with slight allusions to Duane Allman’s wails and a splash of Santana’s soul. But with a style and execution entirely his own. The clean tone from his amps made his five-alarm-fire solos much more palatable and accommodating to band mates as well as crowd members. My accomplice, a longtime jam partner who drums and strums, referenced Andy Summers. He also noted that Moore’s fills cautiously bordered generic after a few extended jams and trade-offs. In all fairness, be reminded that this is just one of Moore’s steady gigs. What he does in Garage A Trois, Galactic, Corrosion of Conformity or Rage’s Tom Morello is entirely suited for those endeavors.
Walter’s keyboard performance conjured the Hammond signature of Deep Purple, but sometimes bordered too heavily on the Paul Shaffer repetitiveness. Some songs would perhaps have been better served by raw piano. Nonetheless, he played with stellar precision and taste.
Moore’s no slouch on drums. With a wide reach and a compact kit, I sensed homage to band-leader drumming predecessors Buddy Rich and Gene Krupa, who helped carve drummers’ identities in stone after decades of anonymous obscurity. Raise a glass to him for carrying the torch.
The trio’s second set ran on higher-octane, but at times some numbers became almost predictable — variations on the same theme. Similar to a looped Mardi Gras soundtrack or Big Easy funeral, but not in a way that soured the show.
One fine example of an unexpected ‘rabbit from the hat’ was the unmistakable ‘DOM-DOM’ intro to Zeppelin’s ‘Good Times, Bad Times,’ which was played in its entirety, with Walter’s keys serving as the vocal melody lines during the verses.
Under strict orders to end the gig by 10 p.m., Moore graciously announced two songs before the show’s conclusion, “We’d love to play here all night, but we’ve got until 10 to wrap this up. But next time we’ll be back for a longer night.”
Perhaps speaking on all our behalves, one enthusiastic audience member replied, “How about next week?”