Last year's breakup of locals LCC broke my heart. Sure, any band's split can be tough for its fans, but what cut me the deepest was the idea that a great album would never come out. See, LCC had debuted amazing songs in concert before calling it quits, and after the breakup, rumors suggested those songs might die quietly.
Thus, it was a welcome surprise to hear that not only was lead singer Peter Schmidt heading back to the studio, but he'd also recruited some friends around town to boost his solo debut. The new four-piece began a three-week homestead at Barley House on Sunday night, and even though Schmidt pitched the show as preparation for recording next month, the band established onstage chemistry not often seen in a band's live debut. And who would have guessed that such chemistry would take a sharp turn into jazzy territory? The rhythm section, upheld with poise by Chomsky's James Driscoll and Matt Kellum, slowed and sashayed Schmidt's biting material, and Shibboleth's Rich Martin stole the show with slinky piano lines and driving organ parts.
"Well I Know" benefited from a subtle new-wave touch, while the new version of "Cut From the Same Cloth" sounded like a rock experiment lost in the Dean Martin archives, although Schmidt unleashed his trademark howl and grounded the lounge feel with a solid chunk of rock. Unfortunately, new songs were few on Sunday, and they sounded straightforward compared with the older remakes, but storytelling and personal struggle seemed the higher priority in the new material. The next two weeks of shows will surely see more new songs, which I'm guessing will flesh out as the band gets used to them, and this new dynamic alone is worth a repeat visit.
Peter Schmidt plays September 12 and September 19 at Barley House.
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