There are certain moments in our day-to-day lives that cause us stop the fury of to-do lists and time chasing, where we embrace a moment for all its glory: watching the sunset from the window of a plane window, breathing in the view of the snow-topped mountains as we climb higher on the chairlift, or running down a beach in the early morning light. Such is the experience of Evermotion, the latest release from Guster, their seventh out this month on Nettwerk/Ocho Mule.
From their beginnings in the early 90s to 2015, Guster’s breadth of styles expands from percussion and string-heavy Irish Folk and the jangle alternative rock from the days of Guided by Voices, Better Than Ezra, and Meat Puppets, to today’s layered euphoric journeys. They’ve continuously threaded their craft for vocal harmony through each year and decade.
On Evermotion, Guster turned producer Richard Swift, who brings the combination of sun drenched indie styles as the keyboardist for The Shins, and the raw and dusty sounds from American’s back roads as touring bassist for The Black Keys.
“Simple Machine” is a driving, bouncy ride with Brian Rosenworcel‘s percussion skills essentially taking the wheel as keyboards add a new wave touch. “It Is Just What It Is” takes a relaxed, drifter approach to watching life go by, sauntering down the street with the suave style of a 50’s Motown man about town.
The disco lights flicker across a vintage, Mid Century modern lounge during “Lazy Love,’ a perfect slow-dancing track that features the myriad of instruments and music-making tools in Guster’s toy box.
And then there’s that escapism song, “Long Night,” with Ryan Miller’s magnificent vocals melting all your worries away, as intricate tinkles of xylophone, guitar pedals dripping with honey and drums crash and drift slowly to shore.
Through it all you can hear and feel the 20+ years of chemistry these guys have along with their fifth Beatle, if you will, in Swift, as they forge into new territories, taking off from the shift ventured into in 2006 with “Satellite,” and contining to grow and expand as a band.
A fantastic complement to Guster’s current tour is Kishi Bashi, violinist extraordinaire and indie pop afficianado. I’ve witnessed him play a tiny college bar in Manchester (U.K. not U.S.) all the way to a proper venue here in Denver, and in each he captivated the audience not only with his musical capabilities but his personal charm. Can’t wait to hear the material from his 2014 release, Lighght, filled his signature whimsy and musical prodigy presences, flipped ’round with psychedelic rock and tangerine smiles.
With over two decades, and not only seven albums now under their belt but a series of live albums, and huge accolades from all that experience a Guster show (expect the unexpected), it’s going to be a fabulous night at the Ogden, Saturday January 17 (doors 8pm/ show 9pm).
It should be noted that each act have their side projects, Kishi Bashi with his own line of coffee (a man after my heart, and hoping it’s at the merch booth), partnering with Jittery Joe’s to release “Royal Daark Blend,” and Guster’s nonprofit, Reverb, founded by Gardner and his wife, Lauren Sullivan, who for over ten years have created programs for green touring and environmental awareness within the concert-going audience.
That’s not all folks. As with many who visit our fine Rocky Mountain state, the Guster crew are also taking advantage of our marijuana laws, hosting a private and intimate “Pot Jam” by choosing participants who entered by email (deadline has passed) with the best answers to why they “should get picked to smoke weed and jam with Guster.”
Fun (high) times, indeed.
Guster North American Tour Dates:
1/17 – Denver, CO – Ogden Theatre*
1/20 – Anaheim, CA – House of Blues*
1/21 – San Diego, CA – House of Blues*
1/22 – Las Vegas, NV – House of Blues*
1/23 – Salt Lake City, UT – The Depot*
2/4 – Houston, TX – House of Blues*
2/5 – Austin, TX – Stubb’s
* 2/6 – Dallas, TX – House of Blues*
2/7 – New Orleans, LA – House of Blues*
2/9 – Birmingham, AL – Iron City*
2/11 – St. Louis, MO – The Pageant*
2/12 – Nashville, TN – Cannery Ballroom*
2/13 – Atlanta, GA – The Tabernacle
2/14 – Orlando, FL – House of Blues*
3/29 – Vancouver, BC – Venue Nightclub*
3/30 – Seattle, WA – Neptune Theatre
3/31 – Portland, OR – Crystal Ballroom
4/1 – San Francisco, CA – The Fillmore
4/2 – Los Angeles, CA – Orpheum Theatre
4/8 – Madison, WI – Barrymore Theatre*
4/9 – Minneapolis, MN – State Theatre*
4/10 – Chicago, IL – Riviera Theatre
4/11 – Detroit, MI – St. Andrew’s Hall*
4/13 – Royal Oak, MI – Royal Oak Music Theatre*
4/14 – Cleveland, OH – Houseof Blues*
4/16 – Columbus, OH – Newport Music Hall*
4/17 – Pittsburgh, PA – Stage AE*
4/18 – Rochester, NY – Water Street Music Hall*
4/20 – Charlotte, NC – The Fillmore Charlotte*
4/22 – Raleigh, NC – Lincoln Theatre*
4/23 – Charlottesville, VA – The Jefferson*
4/24 – Philadelphia, PA – The Theatre of the Living Arts*
4/30 – Burlington, VT – Higher Ground
5/2 – Portland, ME – State Theatre
* with Kishi Bashi