Tea Leaf Green w/Atlas Road Crew
The 8×10, Baltimore, MD
October 6, 2016
By Randy Harris
After three years of light gigging, the Bay Area-based jam band Tea Leaf Green unexpectedly announced a nine date tour through the Northeastern United States. The band originally formed in 1996 and has built an extremely dedicated and loyal following of fans over the past two decades. The announcement of the tour was met with a mix of excitement and anticipation as the band has hinted at further activity in 2017. At the same time, the band also announced that they were amicably parting ways with their bassist of the last nine years, Reed Mathis. Mathis was beloved by fans and widely known to be an integral part of the band’s development over the last decade. Tea Leaf Green, however, has an incredibly loyal and understanding fan base, and so the news of Mathis’ departure was met with a positive outlook for a new chapter of the band. Baltimore’s staple jam venue, The 8×10, was very fortunate to host Tea Leaf Green’s fall 2016 tour opener, along with the ever ascending rock band Atlas Road Crew as support.
If you haven’t had the pleasure of experiencing Atlas Road Crew yet, I suggest that you do yourself a favor and change that immediately. This young band from Charleston, SC has been packing out venues up and down the East Coast and truly putting their stamp on modern rock & roll. Their incredible talent for songwriting combined with a passionate, raw stage performances keeps everyone in the crowd singing along and dancing until their feet hurt. The five-piece band brought a solid early crowd to The 8×10, playing a mixture of fan favorites and brand new tunes as the building filled up and shook with anticipation for Tea Leaf Green’s return to Baltimore.
In between sets, old fans, young fans and new fans alike talked excitedly about what songs we might hear and the last times we saw the band. It seemed like not a soul in the building was silent, and everyone was reconnecting with old friends and making new friends at the same time; pretty much everything that a great concert should have during transitions. The atmosphere is always a great one at The 8×10, but this night seemed to have an extra electricity in the air.
Tea Leaf Green took the stage to a deafening roar from the crowd. The band focused on primarily older tunes, as the drummer Scott Rager hinted they would in his recent interview with JamBase, which was represented by their opener, “Graden [Parts I, II, & III].” The three parts to this tune are spread out among the band’s 2003 and 2005 albums, and the Baltimore crowd responded delightedly to the classic suite. The rest of the night was spread out among albums from 2003 all the way to 2013, as Trevor Garrod (keys, harmonica, lead vocals) led us into an elated stupor. Guitarist Josh Clark reminded us all that he is a force to be reckoned with, working his way through complex lead parts and mind-altering solos. The collaboration of drummer Scott Rager and percussionist Cochrane McMillan was intricate and precise, reminiscent of their dual drumming ancestors that we all know and love. Finally, the new guy, Eric DiBerardino, held down the bass guitar like a champ, and the fans welcomed him warmly into their family.
All in all, this band is back in action and playing as well as they ever have. They are in fine form, and fans across the country should be both excited and anxious to see what they have in store for us in 2017. The fall tour rolls on through the Northeast with trips to Philadelphia, Fairfield, Boston and Brooklyn to finish things off.