Progressive rock groups Steep and Lee Terrace may not be familiar names to many, but they left a hearty impression on the calm and collected crowd Friday August 28 at the Westcott Theater. Steep was up first, with guitarist Dylan Lundgren front and center sporting a lime green guitar and infectious smile, full of pep as he intermittently bopped his head in beat with the music. After their first song concluded, Jack Jarvis, drumsticks in hand, offered the sparse crowd a small witticism, “One fish in a tank says to the other, ‘How do you drive this thing?’” Those not clustered around the makeshift beer keg tables in deep conversation happily chuckled in response.
Steep declared their next track, “Brain Fuel,” a dance tune, but the night was too young and most attendees weren’t loose enough to get their feet moving quite yet. “Brain Fuel’s” dynamic ebb and flow faded between genres, beginning as a moderate tempo rock jam before mellowing out into a jazzy breakdown where Elliot Jarvis’ metallic bass parts slyly hinted at the Seinfeld theme song, before the song intensified toward fast-paced rock.
As Steep finished their set, the crowd had filled in considerably, largely composed of a more mature demographic, the type that stand solidly in place and mindfully contemplate the instrumentation rather than dance like wild banshees near the front. A crew of four grey-haired audience members had camped out in matching green lawn chairs, just a half a shade off from Lundgren’s guitar hue. A few young rogue dancers did have a mind for letting loose and flailing freely to the music, and luckily for them the entire front half of the room was open for them to flit and bounce at will. The rest of the crowd clung to shadows, observing with keen eyes.
Fellow Futurama fans may have glimpsed the Zoidberg figurine resting pensively atop the amp next to the drum kit as members of Lee Terrace took the stage. Exposing a small glimmer of their inner nerdiness, the potent jam that quickly blossomed from the group of five musicians heightened their “cool factor” as obviously talented musicians and science fiction sitcom aficionados.
Playing a mix of originals and covers, a rendition of MGMT’s “Electric Feel,” sung by bassist Michael Sloan, appealed to younger attendees. Front man Kevin Metzger entertained the crowd with an anecdotal explanation detailing the origin of the title “Goldie’s Song,” and publicly exposing the time his father took the family cat to the vet and couldn’t recall it’s name. Bringing vocalist Nina Pelligra on stage to cover Led Zeppelin’s “The Song Remains the Same” created an exhilarating rendition worthy of a rambunctious round of applause at the end. Saxophonist August Cook and trumpeter Nick Coggiola and percussion accompanist Jon Kane enhanced a string of Michael Jackson covers including “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough,” “Billie Jean” and “Thriller,” which energized the room before Lee Terrace polished off their set with a crisp performance of their title track, “Deep Blue.” And for the encore? How about Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs.” Yeah, it was a great night.