Wednesday, October 12, 2005

The Sheepherders Tear up the Ace of Clubs

Last Thursday was another great show by the Moroccan Sheepherders who opened for Vince Welnick at the Ace of Clubs in New York City. The faithful fan base packed in the venue to listen to a one and a half hour set of classic and new songs interleaved into an melange of pure aural bliss. While the "flock" was out in full force there were a number of new faces who turned out to listen to this innovative band. The Sheepherders opened up the show with a new song "Going Down", a solid up tempo rock tune. It was the most traditional song of the evening but an incredible new addition to the repertoire. "Cabin in the Dark" another new tune evoked native american animal totems over rich funk/folk beats and melody. The band blew the crowd away by capping the set with two tributes to the Grateful Dead and tip of the hat to Mr. Welnick. "Warf Rat" and "The Other One" got the crowd on their feet. While both covers were executed with elan, "The Other One" stands out as a song that really matches the bands talents and temperament. (I'm personally lobbying the band to cover "Eleven". Come to think of it I'd like to hear the Sheepherders' take on Yes' "South Side of the Sky" but I digress.) The extended show was the coming out party for two of the bands new members Andrea Watts (vocals) and Sheila Early (percussion). Watts' soulful and powerful voice was in perfect form as she added her own embellishments to Sheepherder favorites like "On the Vine" and "Coming For You". The former suggested by yours truly, but later being the most intriguing addition of Watts' unique spice. Early, the band's own "Sheila E", lived up to and surpassed her namesake as she furiously hammered out staccato beat accents on the timbales that enhanced the already well endowed percussion section. Her frenetic presence was felt as the band moved into an extended percussion jam at the tail end of "Moroccan Roll". The show marks a new highlight in the bands evolution. New members, a growing fan-base, and a new tunes to get the crowd moving are all great accomplishments. A new CD would round out the season and while it has not been announced is eagerly being anticipated by the "flock". I urge music fans to get out to the next show and listen to this unique group work their own blend of ambient tribal blues rock.

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