Concert Review: Professor Greenhouse at the Stone Tavern
Last Thursday, July 19, the time came to bid farewell to Chris Wallis, Charles Welch and Bob Vokac of Professor Greenhouse as they begin their journey to the wondrous land of Denver, Colorado. But it wasn’t yet time for tears and nostalgia — just booze and rock & roll. They stormed Kent’s Stone Tavern with trusted allies Made Like Trees and ALBUM in tow.
Made Like Trees took the stage first for a comparatively laid back start to the evening. A little bit of jam here, some southern rock there, and some seriously capable musicians to back it up. Lead singer Kyle Buckley showed some pretty impressive range and vocal acrobats, but when he wasn’t singing, he simply sat on the stage and ducked out of the way as his backing band (Joe Sobek on lead guitar, Aaron Swope on rhythm guitar, Mark Chesnes Jr. on bass and Eric Lee on drums) launched into some serious jams. I’ll admit, this kind of music isn’t usually my cup o’ tea, but with a guitarist like Sobek and a such a solid rhythm section, it’s hard not to get into it.
ALBUM took the stage next. This was my second time seeing ALBUM, and I noticed a similar phenomenon at both shows. Anyone who didn’t already know the band looks a little dismayed when they realize a metal band is about to perform. They may even mock them a little bit. The clientele at the Stone Tavern this night just really didn’t seem to be the target market. However, no one makes it past the first song before they knock off that smug shit real quick.
ALBUM plays heavy metal, they love heavy metal, and when they’re on stage, they’re breathing heavy metal through and through, in the deepest of jams and even in their stage banter. The enthusiasm is completely infectious, too. No matter what you’re in to, if you’re watching ALBUM perform, you’re headbanging, and this night was no exception for anyone. ALBUM blasted through what felt like a short set with a small mosh pit and probably a new set of ALBUM believers, and it was time for the headliners to take the stage.
Professor Greenhouse came out of the gate screaming with “Animal of a Lifestyle” (featured in their second video update). This was the first show for the bands new lineup outside of their basement. Longtime fans of PG probably remember a folkier, tamer version of the band before them. Well, that’s long gone. There’s maybe a hint here and there of some southern twang, but it’s been almost completely taken over by heavy riffs, sometimes toeing the border of math rock.
Wallis and Welch trade off rhythm and lead guitar duties, with Wallis taking the spotlight on vocal duties and Welch taking it right back with impressive solo work. It’s all driven by Vokac’s absolutely ferocious drumming style. The show, while loud and raucous, was well rehearsed and clean, evidence of many months of honing their new songs. Every twist and turn of the rhythm and tempo was executed almost effortlessly on songs like “Exit Strategy” and “The Bomber,” and Wallis even pulled out a megaphone for an extra punch to “Give Me A Fuckin’ Break.”
Mark Chesnes Jr. of Made Like Trees joined them on stage, bringing his Professor Greenhouse jersey out of retirement to play bass on a couple songs, including a cover of CAKE’s version of Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs.” The band planned to end on another cover, “Helter Skelter,” but of course the audience was having none of that. They called for an encore, and PG delivered, ending with Foghat’s “I Just Want To Make Love To You” and MC5′s classic “Kick Out The Jams.”
Below is a slideshow of pictures from the show, courtesy of Nasty Fancy’s resident photographer, Phil Botta. Check back with us in the coming weeks for an exclusive video of the show.