Amoricans rocked Westford VFW last night, continue building larger audiences

Amoricans guitarist Brian Maloy

Tribute act Amoricans rolled into the VFW in Westford, Massachusetts last night and played over three hours of solid music. Nailing the hard driving changes, solid ensemble work, instrumentation, and vocals of the Black Crowes, this group showed, once again, their potential to become huge on the music scene.

The eight piece slammed right into “Remedy,” with vocalist Seth Miller displaying a raw, husky voice that seemed born to sing this material. The band played it as a thick sound, dual guitars, bass and drums whipping up a mound of aggressive blues rock.

Snaking, hissing electric guitar lines amidst bulbous low end notes made “No Speak No Slave” a rocker bursting with energy. It was uncanny how well the two guitarists, Kevin Meaney and Brian Maloy, played off of each other, creating sparks by contrasting their lines.

Bluesy lead guitar during “Sting Me” was grinded out by Amoricans guitarist Brian Maloy. An interplay of lead and backing vocals kept this tune twisty and adventurous. Miller had a call and response chorus going on with backing vocalists Shari “Shazz” Richardson and Hermine Schima Basso, like a blues minister getting into a groove with his choir girls.

Ushered in by the rhythm section, Amoricans performed an on the money version of “Hard To Handle.” on Rolling waves of guitars and bass drove right up into its mouthful of chorus. The band made this one hum during the ensemble portions and Miller rocked the familiar chorus.

Amoricans occasionally turn the lead microphone over to their back up singers. Backing vocalist Hermine Schima Basso had the solid rich rock vocal down pat for the blues-rocker “Could I Have Been So Blind.” Seth Miller soon reclaimed the main microphone to sing the down tempo traveling piece “Girl From A Pawnshop.” Miller developed it like a torch song, becoming more soulful as he went.

A stomping beat with beautifully rocking guitars on top pulled the audience into “She Gave Good Sunflower.” It was also noted for Brian Maloy’s blisteringly good guitar phrasing. Backing vocalist Shari “Shazz” Richardson came up to the lead vocalist microphone and managed to belt all the soulful lyrics to “Jealous Again.” Her natural flair and feeling for where a song is going kept the tune in motion. Both guitarists mirrored each other on stage at that point, drawing the sublime guitar phases out of this song and presenting it to the Westford VFW with spirited aplomb. It was like two wizards conjuring up guitar gruel with six strings instead of magic wands.

Backing vocalist Hermine Schima Basso taking lead

The band easily handled “Virtue And Vice” with all of its cascading motions, bluesy vocals belting out, guitars swinging the sound along, and keyboardist Brian Therriault tapping out the emotive electric piano.

Amoricans even presented rarer Black Crowes songs, material you wouldn’t likely hear on the radio. For example: “Tied Up And Swallowed.” Here, Miller unfurled the gritty lyrics at a rolling piece, just letting the words flow. Behind him Brian Maloy played his guitar so hard it blared like a horn. Rhythm section boys, drummer Malcolm Collins, bass guitarist Steven Gleason made it rock on the underside with lots of drum fills and plenty of thumping low end notes.

Brian Maloy played tasteful slide guitar on “Under A Mountain,” his notes ringing with clarity and beauty. Swirling organ chords, rhythm guitar, and the rhythm section built nice motions amidst this earthy, organic landscape. Miller’s self-restrained vocal here was another plus, he finessed the Black Crowes lyrics with true emotion. Another down tempo blues, “Bad Luck Blue Eyes Goodbye” found Miller carrying the words with sensitivity, his vocal giving enough color for the lead guitar to add another bright torch to this piece.

“High Head Blues” demanded a lot of rhythmic finesses from the Amoricans. Drummer and bassist locked into an easeful bounce and backing vocalist Shari “Shazz” Richardson played a catchy percussion instrument, a gairo, which is brushed with a stick like piece. The elegant rocker “Good Friday” featured some of the best guitar work of the evening. Miller’s well paced delivery was full of feeling and Shari “Shazz” Richardson played a haunting harmonica line to fill out the forlorn backdrop of this piece.

Brian Therriault‘s keyboards painted a nice bluesy shade in “Thorn In My Pride.” The guitars follow suit with their own raw, emotive feel. It was yet another high moment when the dual guitars did their eruptive thing, both players pressing out hot rock and roll phrases.

Next, Gleason’s brother, Scotty, a respected lead singer in his home state of New York, came up and impressed with a solid take on “She Talks To Angels.” This other Gleason was good at using his vocals to keep this tune moving into deeper and deeper levels of bluesy sadness and rock and roll adventure. His body language on stage was also convincing, moving to each movement in the music.

Keyboardist Brian Therriault

Brian Therriault tinkled out the elegant piano notes to “Descending” as bassist Gleason fingered an eloquent low end line. Vocals and slide guitar on the top made for more touching moments. The slide guitar spoke as much as the lead singer about what is going on in this lyrical description of coming down hard.

Shari “Shazz” Richardson captured the lilting vocals of “Kicking My Heart Around” while Seth Miller rocked out on harmonica. A cover of Orpheum Theatre 2005 Bootleg number “Greasy Grass River” found Miller singing with a nice high pitched vocal. “Soul Singing” made fine use of the two female backing singers, both as spiritual sounding as a gospel choir. It was also played last night with respect for the twisty guitar lines, phrase that have plenty of perk and smack within each measure.

“Cursed Diamond” gave the band a chance to play some tender guitar and keyboard lines while Miller reached deep into himself to offer a meaningful presentation that functioned musically and personally, connecting each of these numbers to their audience.

Every month, The Amoricans continue proving themselves in front of audiences new and old. They capture the spirit in the message of these songs. They fine detail the music. Last night’s show at Westford VFW, a gathering place of very nice people, was another step in their march toward becoming one of the more popular tribute bands in New England.

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