Superfrog 05.08.2009

Superfrog recently stopped by The Hill in Portsmouth, NH and played a full night of music to the enthusiastic spring crowd at The Blue Mermaid.

By: B.B. Miller

With the addition of Adam on percussion, the impressive now 6-piece has ramped things up again; Increasing to a size that encroaches the walls and competes for space within the Maid's dancing/dining area. The tight quarters didn't stop or even slow them down however, as they opened with a tasty new styling on Get Back. The interesting vocal changes added a touch of newness to the familiar favorite. Moving swiftly out of the opener to tight vocal harmonies in Fire on the mtn, which was then followed by a "fantastical" Float, it was clear the night's performance was going to focus on the vocal work the band has obviously been working on. The vocal power in the band has grown ten fold as the band has increased in members. All 6 performers have vocal parts throughout the repertoire with a majority of the weight being carried in force by Proper and Grob.

A retooled Jalopy made a return in the first set with an intro that hearkened back to the early days of Frog when Wendy would share in the harmonies. As the mood lifted out of the slower serenade they picked it up with the brightest and bubbliest Armageddon tune I've ever heard, When It All Goes Down. Complete with a full band drum/percussion break that lead into a Super Mario 3 tickle. Then the song shifted into the Shane/Adam drum solo that fueled the remainder of the song. Superfrog's chops have been polished to a fine-tuned shine and this end of day's anthem shows it.

After a trip on the Astronautical train, Nate moved over as Adam took the lead to cover Bad Fish. Though only his first performance with the band, the percussionist sang with added flair to the known SF cover. A shaky start on Wish was swiftly erased by the powerful presence of the congas and bongos in the very horn centered; Latin infused original which ended the first set.

With the newest original opening the second set, the band slowly gathered together joining their instruments one by one. The soft, mellow tune welcomed the patrons back from the set break. The mellow stepped aside, however, and quickly made room for the more upbeat Tequilador > Year of the Frog pair of originals. With updates and edits in the arrangement of the opening of YOTF, the song was much different from the recording on their album of the same name. When it comes to updating from their album though, not a single song has changed as much as Traveler. This is not a bad thing at all. The effects, production, harmonies and depth that unveils itself from the belly of this tripped out space beast might just be the damp dark magic that fuels the melting memories of our fungus days gone by. The sonic journey brought forth by this slow and relaxed, yet heavy and powerful tune is reminiscent of something Floyd may have left off of Saucer or Meddle. Cormier's slide work and peddle mastery combined with the driving Comer beat and off handed fills mixed with the walking bass line of Proper sound like a B side off of a Gilmore/Waters/Mason creation. After the impressive performance an almost equally stunning 20 minute Whipping Post closed out the set in full face melting fashion as only Superfrog could do. Superfrog will be at Sullivan Hall in NYC on Tuesday, May 12th. If you are going to be in the area do yourself a solid; go see this band and enjoy original music again.