The Rustic Overtones returned to the Putnam Den in Saratoga last Friday, having played in Upstate New York fairly regularly since reuniting five years ago. I’ve seen them here at the Den before and also in Troy at Revolution Hall and in Albany at Jillian’s and every show is better than the last. I started listening to Rustic when I was attending college in Boston in the mid ’90s. Always up for a show, some friends invited me to go see one of their favorite bands and right away I was hooked. The band had great energy, they played hard, they liked Jager shots and their fans knew the words to all their songs.
It’s great to see this band still playing, with Dave Gutter a phenomenal songwriter and frontman. Rustic songs cover a wide range of sounds, from bubbly melodic pop to heavy distorted rock, with a good dose of funk, jazz and occasional psychedelic trippyness. The lyrics are catchy and clever but also honest as Dave projects the emotions in the songs onstage.
After an opening set by Stone Revival Band, Rustic took the stage right around midnight and played for almost 90 minutes before taking a short break and coming back for a two-song encore. The solid set consisted of material from their most recent releases: 2009’s New Way Out and this year’s EP Let’s Start A Cult and their 2001 major label record Viva Nueva.
There were quite a few memorable moments for me at this show. I was getting a beer at the bar when “Iron Boots” started and the fan next to me was telling his friend “this is probably their best song”. That brought back memories of my friends taking me to see my first Rustic show, the first show I had seen with a Morphine cover, which was an unexpected surprise. “Rock Like War” prompted a fan at the front of the stage to show Dave the tattoo on her chest of the the lyrics in his handwriting. He joked that she could have fit the whole song.” Going Out With A Bang” from the new EP was a great song to close the show with it’s refrain of “you’ll never be alone again because we are your friend”.
Setlist: All Together Now, Let’s Start a Cult, Hardest Way Possible, Iron Boots, Honey White, Common Cold, Rock Like War, I Like It Low, Troublesome, Crash Landing, Gas On Skin, C’mon, Oxygen, Carsick > Combustible
Encore: Downside Of Looking Up, Going Out With A Bang
Photo Gallery by Jim Gilbert