Tea Leaf Green 2-5-11, Phila, Pa

Jam bands are a dime a dozen and, to be honest, most aren’t great by any stretch. For example, The Bridge, who opened last night’s show, is composed of apt musicians, but they sound like prog rockers masquerading as hillbillies, their performance inert and unsatisfying. Honestly, I was surprised by how many turned out to see them. But the main act, San Francisco’s Tea Leaf Green, is that rare gem of a jam band that plays true blue rock n’ roll without relying on gimmicks or revisiting the genre’s tired, tried and tested tropes. They don’t reinvent the wheel, but Tea Leaf Green is probably one of the most energetic and sophisticated jam bands performing today. After 15 years, they still play small venues, which serve its devoted audience well. Their high-octane brand of exploratory improvisation befits a more intimate setting. I saw them last year for the first time when they opened here in Philly for Galactic. A friend was aghast that I didn’t stick around for Galactic who, she claims, is one of the most important jazz/funk bands today. Yah. Galactic is great, if you have a vagina. But for any lover of raw, edgy rock n’ roll, Tea Leaf Green is the band to see.

(Note: The clip posted above isn’t from Saturday’s show at World Live Cafe, but the pics below are.)

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