by Robert Bell
9 p.m. Stickyz.
Of all the best Arkansas bands playing right now, I think War Chief has as much of that elusive and mysterious "break-out potential" as any other group going. The band did well in the 2012 Times Musicians Showcase, making it to the final round and getting the crowd onboard with its melodic rock-folk.
Their songs are accessible and contemporary, and while the group certainly draws on the influence of giants — think a less shaggy Crazy Horse — they've got their own sound. Essentially, the band plays a tasteful, smart, modern version of classic rock: the music is rocking (as opposed to cheekily "rawking"); there are guitar solos; front man Grayson Shelton is a singer, not a yarler.
I've only heard a couple of tracks from War Chief's forthcoming full-length, but I was certainly not disappointed. The two tracks were allegedly rough mixes, but they sounded fine to these ears, with soaring six-string action and a Hammond B3 (or something close to it) swirling around in the mix that's reminiscent of prime, mid-'60s Dylan. The album, titled "Love Letters from Prester John," should be available at this show.