by Steve Pick
Photos by Jim Varvaris
What do you want from a live rock performance? Great musicianship, of course, with the ability to play intricate parts as well as simple ones, the skill to generate tight, perfectly placed rhythms and then to loosen them up, and the talent to know when to push the song harder and when to pull back in service to the others in the band. Great songs, too, with melodies perfectly crafted to tease both the parts of the brain which demand familiarity and the parts which crave novelty. And arrangements which make use of the talents on hand and make the songs even better than they would be if delivered simply.
Well, that's what we got from Future Clouds and Radar when they appeared Sunday at the store. It's no surprise, of course, as we at Euclid have been singing the praises of the this incredible band from Austin, TX for a couple years now. After two albums - the self-titled double debut, and the shorter but just as sweet Peoria - it's obvious that these guys can do just about anything they set their minds to.
Robert Harrison (who once led a different band called Cotton Mather) assimilates all the best songwriting tricks from greats who have gone before. There's Lennon and McCartney, of course, but also a bit of Stones from their psychedelic period, some Crowded House, and everybody else who knew how to really pack a melody together into something special. He's now got Future Clouds and Radar down to a four-piece line-up including drummer Darin Murphy, bassist Joshua Zarbo, and keyboardist Hollie Thomas. When these guys get revved up on stage, as they did again and again Sunday, you can feel the joy of their musical union.