Apollo Sunshine kicked off a tour-closing set in Northampton’s Iron Horse Music Hall to a crowd of starry eyed teens whose presence at a gig that started past 11:30 had to have broken a few curfews. The Iron Horse has long been known as the groups “home-base,” so to speak, and seeing as this was the last set the group would be playing before going on a lengthy hiatus, they made sure to put the extra effort into the set for their hometown-fans.
Tearing into “Phyllis,” the group set the mood for the night as they engaged in a tight-and-spacey jam featuring bassist Jesse Gallagher thrashing violently, yet beautifully to the rhythm. Gallagher macked up on his double neck guitar that he converted into a bass/guitar combo which showcased his skills as a multi-instrumentalist. But more importantly, it demonstrated his value as the group’s not-so-secret weapon.
As the set progressed through “Today’s the Day,” and “I Was on the Moon,” the band performed their catalog with the ferocity of a well oiled machine, looking to go out with a bang. While the trio consistently traded instruments back and forth, they performed with the energy of a CBGB’s era punk outfit and the technical precision one would expect from the Mothers of Invention.
As Jesse Gallagher toggled back and forth between his double-necked contraption and his keyboard/sampler, the group’s guitarist, Sam Cohen, shone in an entirely different light altogether. Cohen displayed his chops as a finger-picker with the technique of Fleetwood Mac’s Lindsay Buckingham, while showcasing the aggressive stage antics reminiscent of the guitar smashing days of Pete Townsend.
Deeper into the night’s festivities, the stringed component of the trio traded their instruments in for a chance to shine in the percussive field. What ensued was an on-stage drum circle that had Cohen and Gallagher banging on whatever they could get their hands on, while drummer, Jeremy Black, held the groove together.
Apollo Sunshine brought their tour to a close on a note that couldn’t have been hit any higher – peaking with Hendrix’s “Crosstown Traffic” as an encore. So while the group goes on hiatus, one can only hope that they’ll be coming back to the stage even more energized.
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