River City Extension opened their Summer tour Tuesday with a show at The Space, a familiar haunt for the band out of Toms River, New Jersey.
The group’s rapport with the crowd was immediate, and the set wasted no time turning into a raucous family reunion. The last time so many smiling musicians were seen dancing on stage, they may have been animatronic bears.
The 13 song set (including a thinly veiled but welcome encore) included songs from the forthcoming ‘Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Your Anger.’ The album is set to release June 5, but was available at the show.
Bits of percussion and strumming and bowing layered together to fill the songs, from the inflective ‘Standing Outside A Southern Riot’ to the rustic plain sounds of ‘Everything West Of Home.’ The set ended with an unplugged stroll into the crowd for a circle of singing.
The Proud Flesh opened the show. This five piece from the Elm City played with the swing of a New England style hoedown through ‘Lord Don’t Let Me,’ eliciting the crowd to get up and dance, while themselves knocking over chairs in the process. After winding through the boozy alleys of ‘Three Sheets,” the haunting and powerful build of ‘Gold Leaf And Bone’ left the crowd speechless before slipping away as slyly as it arrived.
More rock than folk, The Drowning Men evoked a darker maturity to their performance. Bringing vocals intoned with anxiety and urgency, lush delay and synths, the band both complemented and stood apart from the others on the bill.