The State House (“the club in the parking lot”) is a newish venue that I wanted an immediate excuse to check out, which was provided by Goodnight Blue Moon, a roots rock septet I’d enjoyed at the Connecticut Folk Festival and figured I’d enjoy more if not soaked in rain and covered in mud. (First Connecticut band to name itself “Mud, Sweat, and Beer,” I’m here for and need a T-shirt.)
If your fantasy alternative universe involves folk/Americana having a big band era, you need to show up for GNBM. If you hadn’t thought that far sideways, show up anyway, because it’s a brilliant idea. The lushness of the instrumentation is intoxicating, and that’s before we get to the vocal harmonies. (Are the lyrics wildly insightful and evocative? Of course the lyrics are wildly insightful and evocative. This is New England. Gently creating better lyrical images than the Americana band down the block is what we do here instead of rap battles.)
The magic of GNBM is that they’ll go from pure, sweet a capella to rockin’ out. Jazzy undertone? Blending into guitar riff out of Tom Petty-style heartland rock? Fiddle and pedal steel? BOOYAH. I’m not super-happy with most of my video since I was sitting behind the bar’s glass screen, but I did get all but the opening bars of “Dust / Undertow,” and if you listen, you may understand why I obsess a bit about it.
Even with an audience reduced by scary weather — though the long-time fan sharing my table in the bar had braved the drive from Hartford and I hope he got home safely — the show had the exuberance that had people dancing in front of the stage. (I’m not sure why hip-hop was the dance style chosen, though.)