Where's my Moog? Band raises dreams of glory
Until last Thursday, I hadn't been to Buddhist Biker Bar in about two years, so nostalgia, as well as the possibility of seeing a band I had never checked out before, was the main reason I found myself in that establishment on such a dreary evening. Upon arriving at 10:30, I could tell something was up: The place was semi-deserted, and the usual fraternity-sorority mix filled only half the club– the rest was left to us.
One Guinness in a disposable plastic cup later, I learned that the band wasn't happening, pretty much the worst thing a music journalist on a deadline can hear. As I made my way to the Corner, something like a holy light must have shined on me, for there, lo and behold! was Lonehawk, the band I had been seeking, performing at The Greenskeeper.
The NYC band had sent me an advanced EP with tracks from their forthcoming studio album, and while there were some fine rock songs on it, they didn't make me want to buy a guitar, learn to play, and start a band (again), the sign of a truly great guitar-based act. What I didn't get until I saw the group live was how important the keyboard stylings of lead singer Dan Lubell are to the group's sound, catapulting them out of the same old-same old guitar band category and into something akin to the organ-heavy rock sound of the '60s and early '70s.
The first thing I noticed about the band was the fact that the seated Lubell had not one, not two, but three keyboards stacked in front of him. From the look and sound of it, Lubell's setup was something akin to organ on the bottom, keyboard in the middle, and vintage synthesizer the Moog (or something that sounded just like it) on top. The second thing I noticed was that the group really offered some great vintage-style pop-rock songs.
Drums, bass, and guitar made up the rest of the group's sound, although after I'd been there about half an hour, a second guitarist plugged in and started to play. And while his gentlemen appeared to have just awakened up from a nap, right away he was rocking with the rest of them in a perfect pop melange. Three of the other band members backed up Lubell's white-boy-with-an-afro-soul-singing, and I have to say the harmonies were pretty on, and quite appropriate. Some of their tunes were quieter, more introspective pieces, some were more outright anthemic rockers– most of the ones I heard blew my socks off.
Seeing Lonehawk didn't make me want to break my guitar out of storage and start another rock band, as I said, but man oh man, after seeing what you can do with classic keyboard sounds, they made me want to take my old synthesizer out for a spin.