Gabriel, a herald in his own right, played a double-neck guitar. But if I hadn't seen it, one may have thought it was a sitar. It also sounded like it may have been Jesus himself playing guitar. These are not compliments I throw out lightly. If he had not looked like an angel on stage, these would not be my chosen words. And the music he was making was even more impressive than his stage presence.
The caliber of musicianship in this three-piece does not decrease by order of appearance in this story. Instead, the three musicians interwove their instrumentation to a degree that was moving. Like shake-the-ground-you-walk-on moving. Like this-is-the-feeling-I-get-when-I'm-on-top-of-the-world moving. I applaud these guys for finding harmony within themselves that extends out in every direction to the corners of the universe.
John keeps the funky bass backbone going through all variants of quick turnarounds and polyrhythmic variations, and is one of the few electric bassists I've seen do a truly kickass bass solo. Like "wow, is that Jimi reincarnated as a bassist or what?" He seemed to be having a really great time on stage too, enough to almost spark a "man, I wish I were singing with these guys" twinge of jealousy.
James has a set full of various percussive elements, and you can hear him play doumbek on "Dumbekistan". Being able to switch off on the pieces of his kit without batting an eye, and still keep the foundation of the rhythm so solidly tight is a truly amazing feat. There is no lack of drummers who are able to do only one or the other, but this will not be a case of that. Instead, he gave me renewed excitement that, given enough dedication and love for an art, anyone can be a (musical/painterly/dancing) DaVinci.
Did I mention that they're also very friendly, humble guys? This is, again I reiterate, something I *never* take for granted.
The fact that Club Cafe wasn't sold out was obviously no measure of their skill. Of the uncountable shows I've seen at Club Cafe, this is one of the two best ever. The other, being very stylistically different, was John Hayes' Midnight Cabaret live. CTS could easily sell out the Peterson Center, give it a few years and 2 more albums. And, while their recorded music is really great, their live shows are even better. How often does that happen??
Honestly, if they're not picked up by a major label on this tour, I will lose all hope for the major players in the music industry. Or perhaps I'll offer to pick them up on my label, though there is simply no way I could do them the justice they deserve at this point in my career. They are Consider the Source, from NYC, after all.
PS - if you want to see me spin or eat fire at the show, just make a request here!