Dead Meadow / Jennifer Gentle
Bottom of the Hill
April 13, 2005

Review by Jake Thomas

Jennifer Gentle was the main reason I was at this show, and I walked in just after they had started. Those crazy Italians released a pretty good album on Sub Pop earlier in the year called “Valende”, and I was curious how it would translate live. I was under the impression that they were a duo, but there were five people on stage so either I was misinformed or they hired a band for the tour, but I don’t guess it matters much anyways. For a band who both took their name and their recorded sound primarily from Syd Barrett, they sure didn’t seem the part live. There was a level of whimsy in their sound this night that I had never heard on their CD…at times I thought they would be perfect on a bill with Of Montreal and the Starlight Mints. They had their moments that harkened to the record, but for the most part it was all out of tune tra-la-las and upbeat melodies. It was actually quite good, despite being different from what I had preconceived them to sound like in a live setting.

Dead Meadow was the main band on this rockin’ good evening, and rockin’ good they certainly were. Their last album “Shivering King and Others” was a real riff-fest, you could tell they really liked Black Sabbath and wanted to prove it to anyone who would listen. On their newest record, some of the rock remains but most of it has transmogrified into something you might have heard on one of those early Pink Floyd albums like “Ummagumma”. But shit, this is a live review, why am I talking about their records? After having recently seen both High on Fire and Mastodon it’s tough to listen to Dead Meadow and actually think they are heavy, but it still sounds great and was definitely pointed in that new Pink Floyd direction I was mentioning before. The crowd had really packed the front and were getting their “mellow hesh” on, the slow motion head bang that is fully appropriate for a show like this – no shirtlessness required for this kind of heshing. I lasted for a good 3/4ths of their set before my distress signal went off and I had to rush home, something about my bed being in trouble and me needing to lie on top of it and possibly sleep. Anyways, it was a great pairing, two good bands for one low price and no one punched me in the balls, a real fun night.