In the case of the Futurebirds, it’s a whoa-eliciting moment. Two electric guitars, one acoustic, pedal steel, bass and drums round out this band from Athens, Georgia. They’re so tight, and the sounds intermingle so well. As a listener you don’t pay much attention to who’s playing what, but the full blended sound becomes king.
In their 10th year, and touring in advance of a new album, the sextet found their way to Rochester for the first time, to participate in Three Heads Brewing‘s Rochester Residency. This month’s resident, bassist Kyle Vock, is putting his own spin on things by booking some of his favorite national acts to play in addition to getting in on the action with his own bands.
Futurebirds mix country twang, soulful grooves, shoe-gaze swirls and a twinge of psychedelia with a centring Southern-rock pulse. It was all on full display during their 70-minute set that spanned their catalog, including some new tunes from their forthcoming LP.
“Virginia Slims” off of 2013’s Baba Yaga got things going nicely. They showcased incredible two, and three-part harmonies throughout. Quality vocals certainly came in handy for a mid-set cover, Til Tuesday’s “Voices Carry,” which they wonderfully smashed into an pulpy alt-country ballad. The set ramped up to close, with “Rodeo” off 2015’s Hotel Parties preceding a powerful “Ski Chalet” in the “we’re not playing an encore” slot. Some Neil Young-esque guitar shredding foreshadowed a surprise “Powderfinger” cover they managed to squeeze into the “Ski Chalet” closer to send the crowd off into the night with a proper rocking.
Kyle Vock’s band, The Mighty High and Dry, opened the evening with a short taster set. Alan Murphy on guitar and lead vocals, Alex Cote on drums, and Eric Katerle on lead guitar joined Vock. The band can balloon to nine members or shrink down to a duo, but played at their baseline quartet. Opening with “Day and Night” they showcased their blues-based, soul rock across four of their original tunes, but kept them close to the vest. This is a band that can keep it rocking for three hours strong, stretching out with some fun rock tunes. So don’t miss them next time they play.