MOTHER SUPERIOR
Sin 2003 tour
MuscleTone Records

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 group’s drummer. Live, he too, takes over on vocals for “Ain’t 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 band’s masterpiece however the Rollin’s (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 “Everybody’s talking’ trash / They say I’ve 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. It’s 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 that’s 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 “Ain’t Afraid Of Dying” led and sung by drummer Jason MacKenroth that blows the roof off the place. Wilson’s guitar rips through the smoke-filled haze with heat-seeking intensity. That same passion surrounds the slower paced “Fool Around” when Wilson’s 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

SET LIST

Strange Change
Talk To The Future
Pretty In The Morning
Jaded Little Princess
Spinning (Marcus)
Rocks
Ain’t Afraid Of Dying (Jason)
Fool Around (solo)
Downtown Tom (slide)
Rolling Boy Blues (slide)
Such A Worthless Thing – off “Mother Superior” (2001)
The Wiggles – from “The Heavy Soul Experience of Mother Superior” (1996)