Last week I picked an okay album from a somewhat disappointing list of new releases, because there were more than ten albums on the list. This week, there were only nine suitable options, and I really didn’t believe I would truly enjoy any of those, so I picked a different album to review. This album came out a couple of weeks ago, but I didn’t hear about it until last week, so I missed out on the opportunity to give my opinion about the live version of 2003’s “Sweet Oblivious Antidote” from Georgia’s own, Perpetual Groove. On the first day of 2016, the quartet played their amazing studio album in its entirety, at The Terminal West in Atlanta, and released this spectacular show for all of us to get to experience. For those that aren’t familiar with Perpetual Groove, their sound is often described as jamband music, but that really doesn’t do justice to the eclectic blend that these four exceptional musicians have made their distinct sound. Since this is a complete live show, I will write my review more like I would after seeing a band live.

The new year began with an amazing omen for music fans at Terminal West. I am not sure if those in attendance were aware that Perpetual Groove was going to play their first album from beginning to end, but either way, they were in for a treat. The show started with the a dreamy but obvious intro, before going full bore into the beloved, “Three Weeks”. There was definitely something different about this song on that night, with some variations on the usual theme of this arena rocker, but the cathartic sing-a-long vibe was still ever-present. It was followed directly by the astronomically themed “Perihilion”, with moments of interplanetary jazz met by more aggressive prog-rock stylings. Another instrumental with a space concept, “Sundog” was both peaceful and playful, throughout.
“TSM2” got a warm reception before it had barely begun. Brock really shines lyrically and vocally on this infectious bubbly alt-rocker, which ended the first set.

The second set opened with the prog-rock machinations of the brooding “Teakwood Betz”. Drummer, Albert Suttle, really got some room to move during this nineteen minute instrumental. The foursome took the attendees for a glide during the dreamlike weightlessness of “Astro Monkey”, that has to be one of the band’s best instrumentals. Bursts of tension dot the landscape on the lighthearted “Robot Waltz”. The slow soulful groove of “Walking In Place” is complimented nicely by Brock’s guitar playing and the appearance by his alter ego, the reverend, who often makes appearances during this song, live, in order to add some levity, but on this night Brock was more serious, and seriously grateful. “Playground” is all the fun of a space hoedown and the edge of symphonic rock in one impressive tune. The last song on the album, is the title track, “Sweet Oblivious Antidote”, where the guys got to show off some harmonizing and concluded with a big beautiful ending. Though this is where the studio album finished, the band decided to give the live crowd a bonus with their fantastically passionate version of Talking Heads’ “Naive Melody”, to round out the night.

I really couldn’t be happier with the live version of Perpetual Groove’s “Sweet Oblivious Antidote”, unless I had been there myself. It shows off the basis for what was a top shelf studio album, but certainly lends the band the room to stretch out in their wheelhouse. It is hard to accurately describe the sound that Perpetual Groove has created, because in just one tune, they can traipse through a few genres, to see where they end up. The journey for  Brock Butler, Matt McDonald, Adam Perry and Albert Suttle has not always been a certain one, but it has always been apparent that the music that these guys make, has had a deep impact on so many. I first saw Perpetual Groove almost ten years ago, and I have seen them in sold out venues, and others where there was hardly anyone there, but they always put on an outstanding performance. If you like Umphrey’s McGee, Moe., Lotus and alternative music of the 80’s and 90’s, then you might want to check-out Perpetual Groove. If you haven’t heard them before, check-out “Sweet Oblivious Antidote” live, and if you haven’t seen them before, they are playing four shows along the Front Range, just before Halloween, this year, so get your tickets now. That’s What I Know, So That’s What You Know!! Enjoy!!


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