Venues, Vocals, and Locals… Oh My! Part 2: Saturday

In addition to seeing The Heavy Guilt this past weekend (which I blogged about here), I also went to a venue I’d never been to and saw another local band I’ve grown quite fond of. On with the show…

Maybe in a collage no one will notice how crappy these photos are...

Saturday the 14th- Anticipation and Affirmation- Shady Maples and Dead Feather Moon, $10 at The Griffin:

I have been looking forward to seeing Dead Feather Moon again since I saw them at Rocktoberfest back in, uhhh October. Thanks to Spotify (my new favoritist thing in the motherfucking world) I have been consuming DFM’s music at a rapid pace, but you never really know how digital deliciousness will translate to the wonderful world of live music. When I saw their set a few month’s back I was… to put it mildly: fucking loaded. A day that started with pre-party vodka punch, continued with strong lagers behind the North Park Birch Theatre and at some point between catching sets by The Heavy Guilt, Dead Feather Moon, and Everest I tripped on my own foot and busted the hell outta my elbow and knee. Fail. Needless to say I don’t remember the Dead Feather Moon set from that evening as much as I’d like to. Thankfully I got to experience what they have to offer this weekend at a small venue and was stoked by the results.

Shady Maples started the night with their “Southern California CD Release Party.” Their short set seemed to increase in confidence and poise and was pleasing for me, as a first time listener. The Griffin was a better looking venue than Winston’s, nothing too fancy, but everything you’d want in a live music spot. Pool tables in the back, good sized bar, booths and a couple additional tables if you’re into sitting down at shows (I’m not). There were plenty of people in attendance without feeling too boxed in. Thumbs up on that.

After a short interlude after Shady Maples set, Dead Feather Moon took the stage and launched into a rousing performance. Opening with “Everything I Haven’t Said” set the tone for their show as the harmonious first lines, harmonica solos, and rhythmic beats gave a taste of what was to come. The set included a  couple of mellow songs, like this one, sprinkled amongst the heavier sounds making for an eclectic, energized mix and the crowd responded in kind.

The five piece band has a well-crafted sound anchored by hard-hitting drum beats, guitar solos that meander long enough to entice without losing hold of the listener, and the impeccable vocals of singer Justen Berge blended with the right amount of backing vocals. Their diverse sound is made that much more unique with a lap steel guitar mastered by Greg Peters who also lends his talents to a variety of sounds on the keyboard (and apparently beer-making… bad ass). With so much going on musically, it’s impressive to note how the vocals and lyrics still manage to stand out- from the softer lines to the gritty shouts. After listening to “Dark Horse” a few times it’s hard not to sing along. The band manages to sound cohesive, while still showcasing individual talents, and not fitting into any one genre. As soon as it seems ready to be classified in some simple summation like “alt-country with classic rock influences” another song spins them in another direction without seeming out of character.  The best way I can sum it up is it’s the kind of music my dad would have tried to get me to appreciate 10 years ago and I would have rolled my eyes. Finishing their set with an unreleased tune called “Always Around” ended their part of the night with a fun jam that highlighted the various powers within the band. Any question I had about their recorded sound translating to stage was vanquished by the set (so much so that I went ahead and caught another performance of theirs with Transfer and The Silent Comedy at the Casbah two nights later… but more on that to come.)

Sounds to Sample from Dead Feather Moon:

Always Around

Dark Horse

Everything I Haven’t Said


About Jen Van Tieghem

There aren’t many things I love more than music. While life spins away at a rapid beat I’ve realized it’s important to spend it doing what I love – enjoying music in San Diego. I have a handful of favorite venues, a heart full of favorite bands, and decided to write about it.

7 comments on “Venues, Vocals, and Locals… Oh My! Part 2: Saturday

  1. […] I’ve already gushed about Dead Feather Moon here, I’ll keep my summation brief. They rocked. Again. The set was a truncated version of what I […]


  2. […] Saturday, in which I find out Dead Feather Moon is, in fact, as good as I thought. […]


  3. […] when seen live and solidifies it’s power when performed. I got to see Dead Feather Moon not once, but twice in January (hoping to make it out to see them in March as well) and this song is my […]


  4. […] like this, but for shit’s sake- this show was awesome. I’ve had the pleasure seeing all three bands before and on several occasions but this show outdid those ones and in the best way possible. Something […]


  5. […] and Nicki Bluhm & The Gramblers: Dead Feather Moon puts on great live shows. I’ve said it again and again. Listen to “Dark Horse” to get a feel for their rich, rocking sound and […]


  6. […] hard-earned. They ended the set with “Always Around” a newly released track that has impressed me for a long time and is finally available for download. The song is a great foot-stomping jam that contrasted with […]


  7. […] in my life this year. The band is full of talent and heart and I’ve happily seen them play many, many, many times. I was particularly excited to see them nominated for an SDMA and that they also […]


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