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The Stones Foxes At the Bootleg, Thursday November 13th 2014

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The Stone Foxes

The Stone Foxes had a Thursday night residency at the Bootleg this month, and I got the chance to see them for their last night, which took some epic proportions…. On Thursday night, I was a bit tired from my long day at work, but the San Francisco band certainly didn’t allow me to rest for a minute! I have to say that they have an explosive sound that immediately jumps at your face, just like their main singer, the frenetic Shannon Koehler, often standing at the edge of the stage when he is not in the middle of the crowd,… it’s a bluesy, hard-rocking, swampy, stomping kind of sound that takes you by surprise, grabs you at the throat and makes you jump till the wee hours.

The Bootleg was packed, the band took the stage to the sound of Star Wars theme and they didn’t waste any time, bringing the energy to the roof at the first song and stretching the show till almost midnight. They even came back for an encore and played many more songs, as if they were decided to mark this night as something to remember, and for close to two hours, the band was on fire… As there were a lot of people with guitars on stage, moving around all the time, or constantly exchanging their roles behind guitars drums and lap steel, the result looked like an orchestrated chaos. The show was heavily sweating southern rock, blues, or even metal and was definitively animated by a devilish spirit… these guys are certainly on a mission, they want you to move inside and out, they want you to clap your hands and stomp your feet, and follow the crazy rhythms of the gospel church of the Stone Foxes. With a southern fervor, a churchy organ, a tambourine and an aggressive delivery, the music was drawing influences in all the right directions… and reading the list of artists they put on their Facebook page didn’t really surprise me, although it is certainly an ambitious one: Bob Dylan, The Band, The Beatles, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Jimi Hendrix, Kings of Leon, Led Zeppelin, Cream, The Flying Burrito Brothers, The Rolling Stones, The Black Crowes, The Faces, Black Sabbath, Wilco, Neil Young, Dr. Dog, The Black Keys, The Raconteurs, The White Stripes… An overload of references and big names.

On Thursday night, the tone was overly classic rock with a rare urgency and a few sweaty bluesy numbers, heavily loaded with harmonica and shouted lyrics, layered guitars which could turn quite heavy… despite all this classic influences, they were often going where blues meets metal and the infectious energy was constantly over the top, except may be for a few songs which had at least a more quiet start with the addition of a fiddle or a lap steel and more harmonies. When Koehler was not playing his role of main-singer constantly haranguing the crowd, he was pounding the drums, and, far from slowing down, the energy shifted a bit, going from bluesy mania fronted by a possessed preacher to a rock out celebration with big southern rock guitars galloping like crazy horses… They did a very inspired cover of Bob Dylan’s ‘Ballad of a Thin Man’, and the song sounded like one of theirs, animated and loud with the addition of the fiddle.

Each one of their songs could have been the grand finale, but they kept coming back for more, always giving more to the crowd who had hardly touched the floor since the beginning of the night… ‘I don’t know about you, but I am not working tomorrow’, said Koehler, happy to go on with the crazy night. I was working on Friday but I stayed till the end of the encore with more of their buoyant songs delivered with a furious and fearless energy and I even got the impression they were getting louder and louder… Drenched in sweat, Koehler was back in the middle of the crowd again with a heavy use of harmonica, making the crowd repeat the lyrics in echo, they kept playing pass the setlist.

The Stone Foxes will release a new album, ‘Twelve Spells’, on August 2015 and if it is any close to what I have witnessed on Thursday, they will make you rock! Actually you can already have a taste by listening to these songs, ‘Locomotion’, and ‘She Said Riot’, that the band has posted on soundcloud… they will give you a good idea of their bombastic sound, but for the crunchy guitars, the frenzy and the shouted-at-the-top-of-their-lungs vocals, you will have to see them live.

Setlist
Beneath Mt Sinai
She said Riot
Everybody Knows
Ulysses Jones
This Town
My Place
Cotto
Ballad of a Thin Man
It Ain’t Nothin’
Cold Like
Stomp
Dying Star
I’m a King Bee

More pictures of the show here


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