For Gazette music writer Brian McElhiney’s preview of this show, click here.
From pop to roots rock to jazz to metal, Bob Schneider and his band covered it all at The Linda Friday night. But that was really no surprise — the Austinite is known for his eclectic range of styles.
What really stood out was the breadth of emotions that came across in Schneider’s performance. One minute, he had the nearly full house in stitches; the next, deep in thought, or feeling his pain.
Perhaps the best example of this came in the middle of his nearly two-hour set. After the steel-drum led romp of “Slower Dear” and an exceptionally silly pseudo-jazz jam in tribute to soundman and steel drum player Jay Thomas’s raccoon Ricky, the band launched into the wistful “40 Dogs (Like Romeo and Juliet),” before tearing through “2002.” The latter song was hands down the highlight of the entire evening — a breakup song of incredible depth, which Schneider sang as if the heartbreak was still fresh on his mind.
And so it went throughout the evening, Schneider yo-yoing back and forth between complete earnestness and complete silliness, but often finding a perfect balance between the two, as on set opener “Trash,” which kicked things off with a bang. “Bullets” was another early highlight, showcasing lead guitarist Bill Cassis’s chops in a smooth solo that prompted Schneider to quip, “That was a lazy sunny day. I think you should end it with a Fresca.”
Throughout, bassist Harmoni Kelley and drummer Conrad Choucroun provided solid grooves, keeping the simple beauty of “I Take My Time” locked down early on, and adding oomph to “Big Blue Sea.”
The band was quick on its collective feet as well, with an audience-requested “Batman Song” coming together after Schneider felt out the tempo with his keyboard’s drum tracks. The song was another example of things veering into utter goofiness, to great results.
Schneider managed to get the crowd on its feet and dancing for the final numbers, including the Latin-tinged songs “Bombanaza” and “Tarantula” from 2009’s “Lovely Creatures.” For the latter tune, Schneider donned a somewhat disturbing, bright red mask, adding to the fun as he pumped the crowd up throughout the energetic singalong with his powerful delivery and manic stage presence.
The crowd got a jolt of energy right from the get-go with the Steve Palmer Band. These newcomers brought gnarled classic rock riffs and a huge, pounding sound to the stage, tearing through songs from their debut album, “Apparition,” due out later this month.
Leader Steve Palmer has a vocal sound that definitely sets this band apart from the countless other classic/roots rock revivalists currently saturating today’s music scene. His unique tenor cut through such rollicking numbers as “Apparition” and the barreling “Livin’ a Lie,” while gently pushing along quieter numbers such as “Nothing to Do” and set highlight “Where Did Your Love Go.” Through each number, lead guitarist Bryan Ewald nonchalantly tore through each rip-roaring solo with enviable ease.
“No Words to Say,” an overly maudlin love song, was the only number that didn’t really connect, but the group quickly redeemed itself with the venomous “Her Own Place” and “Some Things Will Never Change,” pumping the crowd up for Schneider’s onslaught.