The Silos of today don’t look much like the band Walter Salas-Humara first began with guitarist Bob Rupe in the mid-’80s. But even after decades of lineup changes, Salas-Humara can still put on a mean rock ’n’ roll show, as the latest incarnation of The Silos proved throughout a 90-minute set at Valentine’s on Saturday night.
In a typical show for Valentine’s downstairs room — that is, warmly intimate and inviting, and sparsely attended — Salas-Humara plowed through old Silos favorites and strong tracks from this year’s “Florizona” album, the band’s first in four years. The stripped-down affair featured regular keyboardist Bruce Martin pulling double duty on drums and lead guitarist Jason Victor’s sharp, surf-y Fender Jazzmaster playing as backup to Salas-Humara’s gruff vocal delivery and rubbery acoustic riffs.
The band started late, just after 10:30, and a quick glance at the sparse instrumental setup might have led some to wonder. But all trepidation was erased by low-key opening number “Uncomplicated.” And even as the band revved up a few more songs in, with Martin finally getting behind the kit on “Innocent,” the lack of a low-end instrument barely registered in the performance.
Beginning with the second number, the new song “Election Day,” and continuing for the rest of the main set, Lake Placid native Abigail Curran sang harmonies. It was an interesting choice — her vocals, while pleasant, came nowhere close to the level of character Salas-Humara mustered up with his throaty growl, and she remained buried in the mix for the first half of the set. But, eventually, the two took off together — mid-set slow burner “Only Story I Tell” gave them a chance to croon away on a love song, and Curran’s voice finally matched Salas-Humara’s intensity on “Going Round,” which followed immediately after.
Silos classics like “Innocent” and “First Move” raged with appropriate barn-burning licks and thunderous drumming — Martin in particular took the VIP award for his instrumental gymnastics throughout the evening. The snarling “I’m Over You” was another highlight, with Victor’s solo really pushing the tune into the stratosphere.
And the new songs couldn’t have been better — “Coming From the Grave” brought the set into dark territory, while “Teenage Prayer” and the WEXT single “White Vinyl” raged with power and conviction.
Set closer “Holding on to Life,” a tribute to former bassist Drew Glackin who died in 2008 just as “Florizona” was beginning to take shape, was powerful and life-affirming. And if that wasn’t great enough, Salas-Humara returned for a solo acoustic run-through of “Susan Across the Ocean,” showing the dynamic range of his powerful voice.
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