Sin 2003 tour
Ash Street Pub, Portland, OR
Fans of the Henry Rollins Band know exactly who Mother Superior are. When the trio are not on the road supporting Rollins as his back up band, they are out on their own pushing 70s hard rock to the masses. Using influences that range from British blues giants Humble Pie and Free to modern day heroes Stevie Ray Vaughn and the Black Crowes, the three play a combination of blues, soul, and classic American rock & roll.
Guitarist extraordinaire Jim Wilson leads the pack with an extensive musical mother lode. He sings, plays the fender strat like it is an extension of his arm as well as the occasional harmonica and piano. Bassist Marcus Blake lends his talents both vocal and guitar especially in their live set on Spinnin. Jason MacKenroth keeps the bottom end thick and heavy as the groups drummer. Live, he too, takes over on vocals for Aint Afraid Of Dying.
The three-piece have five records under their belt including The Heavy Soul Experience of Mother Superior (1996), Kaleidoscope (1997), Deep (1998), Mother Superior (2001) and their most recent Sin (2002). Critics herald Kaleidoscope as the bands masterpiece however the Rollins (Executive) produced Sin is exceptionally strong and backs their current tour. Indeed, the majority of tonight set is taken from Sin almost following the record track by track.
Bathed under the stage lighting Wilson stands in his best Stevie Ray Vaughn stance, then shouts Everybodys talking trash / They say Ive changed /Well maybe I have. The power of the trio then launches into Strange Change leading the charge through a dynamically electric set. The fuzzy Talk To The Future brings out the best in MacKenroth thunderous drumming. Its one of those moments when the pounding goes through your chest like a set of electrodes. The songs catches on quickly with it melodic chorus and blazes the way for the riff-heavy, soul-crushing Pretty In The Morning.
Wilson is conservative with his crowd banter. He came here to ROCK and thats exactly what he intends to do. With feet planted firmly on the ground he plows through the acoustically melodic Jaded Little Princess before turning over mic duties to bassist Marcus Blake for the groove-dense Spinnin. The song fits perfectly into a loose, sexy blues grind. Blakes vocal embrace the song - squeezing out every emotional drop.
The country swagger of Rocks paints a mid-western love story with rough-edge guitar, but its Aint Afraid Of Dying led and sung by drummer Jason MacKenroth that blows the roof off the place. Wilsons guitar rips through the smoke-filled haze with heat-seeking intensity. That same passion surrounds the slower paced Fool Around when Wilsons solo reaches unparalleled magnificence. Both Downtown Tom and Rolling Boy Blues makes excellent use of the slide guitar to create a stoner out Allman Brothers vibe. Easily the highlight of an already monster set the two songs back to back are spine chilling.
The band dip deep into their back catalog to close out the sweat-drenched set. Such A Worthless Thing resurrects the best from the self-titled Mother Superior (2001) while "The Wiggles" reminds the crowd of the shear power of their debut The Heavy Soul Experience of Mother Superior (1996). Easily one of the hardest rockin sets seen in some time, Mother Superior prove they can easily step out on their own to thrill, delight and amaze.
Web site: www.mother-superior.com