Nice and easy
MOJAVE 3 at Lee's Palace, February 20. Tickets: $12.50. Attendance: 500. Rating: NNNN
the soft rock revolution is
clearly gaining ground.
On consecutive weeks, shush-rockers Low and Mojave 3 have played to sizable, sold-out audiences here, silencing rooms and making earplugs unnecessary. Whether it's a sign of audiences getting older and wanting something a bit more restrained or simply a soothing supplement to winter cocooning, the volume has been turned way down over the past few weeks with great success.
Mojave 3 are seasoned quiet rockers, and it showed at Lee's Tuesday. Like a more expansive run through Bryter Lyter, the sextet's deliciously understated dust-bowl pop was slow and on the silent side, but also remarkably full. Languid pedal steel beefed up Neil Halstead's plaintive acoustic strumming, while his vocal harmonies with bassist Rachel Goswell compensated for the often mumbled lyrics.
Mumbling was about all Halstead offered to the audience. The well-sideburned singer barely said a word to the crowd until someone shouted out a request for Coldplay's Yellow. Just about cracking a smile, Halstead asked whether the Britpop stars were also playing in town tonight, but seemed so reluctant to engage in conversation that he started playing again almost immediately.
Maybe he didn't want to break the spell. Mojave 3 are quiet, but more than that, they're immaculately polished. The casual elegance of the group's Excuses For Travellers disc was multiplied in concert. Not a fill was missed, a note flubbed or a chance taken.
A few breaks with the program here and there could have lightened things up, but even in its slickness, the gig was hypnotic. Turning the volume down needn't be dull after all.MATT GALLOWAY