Review by Jason Wert
While there have been many power trios in rock over the years, the ones that really separate themselves are the ones who can make a listener believe they are listening to more than three people. Tonight, at Lindberg’s, I heard a trio that can do exactly that.
I truly believe SALT has the opportunity to be one of the best bands to come out of Springfield.
What stands out initially for the band is that you really have a hard time quantifying their sound. Imagine Stevie Ray Vaughan sitting in with Yes. Bonnie Raitt doing an album with Rush. Peter Gabriel mixing it up with ZZ Top. Then take any of those pairings and have them remixed with a little Joe Walsh.
There is a clear foundation of blues in this band. Blues rock seems to anchor the sound of the group but they go far beyond that base. There is a clear alternative/progressive rock sound that builds upon that strong rock base that allows SALT to move through different genres even in the same song. It’s bluesindieprogressivealternative rock.
The result is a unique driving sound that hooks you from the first note. Almost the entire set tonight from the band were original songs that I was hearing for the first time and I found myself thrashing my head without thinking about it. The songs are all accessible from the first listen with an overall sound that feels familiar despite being new.
But what sets SALT apart from other trios…is the depth of their arrangements in their original material.
The band roared from the gate with originals “I Wanna Live” and “Life in Blue” that showed an interplay between guitarist Bobby Gardner and bassist Kim Painter that many bands with multiple guitarists cannot equal. Both musicians were playing melodic lines that individually were of a high technical level, but combined they brought a depth to the overall sound that made you think there were more than three players on the stage.
However, within that depth, there was a technical level that local bands usually do not reach. Gardner, Painter and drummer Ryan Fannin moved through multiple tempo changes AND time signature changes in their songs so seamlessly that when listening you heard one solid unit. No extra notes to stumble on a moment of silence. No instrument running a split second behind the beat. SALT was TIGHT. I’ve heard many professionally touring bands that were not as in sync as SALT tonight.
Adding to the overall depth of the band is the outstanding vocal pairing of Gardner and Painter: they make their vocals blend in a manner that feels effortless. Neither voice overpowers the other and in the songs where they’re bouncing back and forth with vocal lines there’s no real disconnect between the vocalists.
The show tonight had a few issues early…mostly issues with Gardner’s guitar going out of tune…but after that initial hiccup the band hit their stride and played almost a full two hours without a break. There was a power that these three musicians drive through their songs that just did not let up one iota from opening salvo to finishing kick.
When you find out this band has only been together about a year, you can only imagine how solid they’re going to be a year from now. Two years from now. They have the talent and the sound to be really special and go far beyond the borders of Springfield.