Jeremiah Nelson & the Achilles Heel; February 25, 2009; the Dry Bean, Fitchburg
I’ll admit that I expressed some doubts when Jeremiah told me he was putting together yet another band. After all, the Achilles Heel was going to be playing all of his new songs, perhaps the best he’s ever written, songs that in my mind are so perfectly suited for the acoustic twang of the Mysterious Bruises. I had no doubt that guitarist Justin Bricco, bassist Landon Arken and drummer Adam Cargin would be great, after all they also make up 60% of the hardest working band in town, the Blueheels, I just wasn’t convinced they were the right band for the job.
As it turns out I was only half right. Some of those songs have actually been asking to rock harder, but just couldn’t do it with the violin and upright bass. “Waiting for a Sign” moved even closer to the Classics IV’s “Spooky” intensity with the rock band behind it, and that is definitely a good thing, while “Pacing & Scheming” realized a potential I didn’t know it had as I listened to him working it out a few months ago. The more folk rock side of his catalog, like “Daisy Chain” and the awesome “Runnin’ from the Fuse,” still sounds better with the Bruises. Others like “Floodplain” and “Drugs to Make You Sober” don’t seem to have picked their band yet.
With upright bass player Matt Donoghue not available as often as Jeremiah would like to play, it is likely we will be seeing more of the Achilles Heel. And as they play together more they will certainly get more comfortable with the songs. It was strange to see the normally expressive Bricco tied to his song notes rather than jumping all over the stage and throwing up sky points. Just seeing them somewhere other than at a nearly empty Dry Bean on their dimly lit stage is going to improve things immensely. Hmmm, maybe another band isn’t such a bad thing after all.