When the Fresh & Onlys hit the stage, there were only about 30 people in the room. Another Monday night at the Casbah. Early in the set, singer/guitarist Tim Cohen busted a string on his Tele and it was barely noticeable. Once the band got in gear, the audience was so bombarded by the echo-laden, reverb-drenched audio haze that even if his guitar had dropped out of the mix, it wouldn't have made a dent in that wall of sound.
Cohen looked more like a weekend warrior on a trout-fishing excursion than a songwriter at the forefront of San Francisco's new-psychedelic movement. Bearded, chubby, and rocking a hat perfect for hooks and lures, he led his band through a set so loud that it almost hides how beautiful the songs are at their core. Wymond Miles’s intricate lead-guitar work was a highlight, allowing simple counter melodies to flourish in the audio onslaught.
The band is prolific, and it was apparent that many of the songs they played have yet to be released. I recognized a handful from their most recent full-length, Play It Strange, but 2009's Grey Eyed Girls (in my opinion their best so far) was ditched. I asked the band post-show if they ever close with "The Delusion of Man" (the final track from Grey Eyed Girls) anymore, and Cohen looked at me as if I was talking about a song from 20 years ago.
Concert: The Fresh & Onlys
Date: August 1