Tea Leaf Green + Blue Turtle Seduction
The heirs to San Francisco’s jamrock crown, Tea Leaf Green, honor the past by using their influences as a launch pad to boldly explore new sonic territory.
Tea Leaf Green + Blue Turtle SeductionCity: San Francisco, CA
Venue: The Fillmore
When Tea Leaf Green played the Bay Area’s annual Sing out for Seva benefit show last May, host and legendary counterculture figure Wavy Gravy invoked the names of no less than Jerry Garcia, Janis Joplin and Bill Graham when he introduced the young guns to a crowd mainly there to see veteran acts like Zero and the Grateful Dead’s Mickey Hart & Friends. Such a lofty introduction was an honor the band had earned though, as there’s probably no other San Francisco rock group taking their sound across the country as widely as Tea Leaf Green has the past few years. This commitment to their music has seen the band grow from playing college house parties in the early part of the decade to national touring and now headlining two nights at the historic Fillmore here in 2008. Tea Leaf Green’s sound may owe more to groups like Phish and the Allman Brothers Band than the Grateful Dead, but as a local group known for soulful songs, stellar jamming and good vibes, the band has positioned themselves as one of the heirs to San Francisco’s jamrock crown. And like the pioneers of the original “San Francisco Sound", Tea Leaf Green honor the past by using their influences as a launch pad to boldly explore new sonic territory. This formula has increasingly made a Tea Leaf Green show a communal event. There was that sense in the air that this was the place to be, with friends from all over the Bay Area convening at rock ‘n’ roll’s ground zero for another night of ritual celebration. Lake Tahoe’s Blue Turtle Seduction kicked things off with an opening set of high-energy tunes that got the party started on the good foot. The band’s sound is hard to pinpoint but blends roots rock, Americana, bluegrass and classic rock into a groovy musical stew which, judging by the audience reaction, could soon see Blue Turtle headlining the Fillmore themselves.
Blue Turtle Seduction
The homecoming vibe is completed during the encore when original bassist Ben C., who just left the band at the end of 2007 after ten years together, appears onstage to deliver “Planet of Green Love", his classic hip-hop ode to affection for the sweet leaf. It’s a popular sentiment at the Fillmore and the energy level threatens to raise the roof, with the bassist laying down the funky low-end beneath his rap while Mathis joins Clark on guitar. A huge jam ensues with Clark and Garrod both pushing the music higher and higher, reveling in the reunion with their old friend. Clark rips a huge ascending solo to end the jam on a high note, bringing the show to a climactic end. The departure of Ben C. and the addition of Mathis on bass, with perhaps jazzier skills, heralds a new era for Tea Leaf Green. But the band shows no signs of slowing down for a transition – it looks like full warp speed ahead...