Free Energy @ The Crocodile 01.25.11

January 26, 2011

Walking into The Croc Tuesday night bared witness to a dismal sight. 30, maybe 40 people if you're being optimistic, all scattered around a room meant for hundreds. The cheerful but quiet group kept to themselves, chattering with friends. Under the dim light with Drive Like Jehu's "Caress" playing over the PA, it gave you the feeling of a night coming to a close, a fun party now winding down for the evening. And this was of course only minutes before Free Energy were due to take the stage.

Honestly I was surprised by the poor turnout for a band that had garnered so much blog hype and praise from the music press. I couldn't help but wonder if Ween @ The Paramount had stolen away much of the bands hipster crowd that night, and by now I was contemplating how this would effect the performance. Were the band going to be dull and disillusioned? Was the crowd going to be too cool and hang by the back bar? Before I could waste anymore time worrying, I found myself humming to the Ghostbusters theme which was now blaring over the PA as the band snuck on stage.

"Yeah!" singer Paul exclaimed over the mic before launching into "Dream City" off the bands debut LP Stuck On Nothing. The Crowd cheered and danced from their respective places in the room before being beckoned to take part in the party, which it was becoming more and more apparent with each chorus was going to push on full speed ahead. The worry I'd had going into the set had all but washed away as the band blazed through a set of album tracks as well as a few new ones (a song affectionately if not temporarily called "codename back scratcher" comes to mind) and perhaps more than anything, it was amazingly refreshing to watch musicians who seem to genuinely enjoy what they're doing. So many bands today take themselves so seriously, so obsessed with being cool that they forget why they started doing it in the first place. To Have fun. And I can guarantee you not a single person in that building left saying they didn't have a blast.

Between sing-a-longs, exchanging high fives with the crowd, face melting, guitar tapping solos over infectious dance grooves, the guys made it perfectly clear that rather than submitting to the vulnerability that comes with facing a small crowd, they were going to throw a dance party, and we were all invited. It wasn't a show, we weren't there to watch them. We were in this together, all just sharing a moment in time in the same room where we could forget about everything outside, kick back and let go.

Verdict: I would go see Free Energy a hundred times over. Be it at a festival, a sold out show at Neumos, wherever. But to be honest, you can always tell a special show by the ones you spend time dreading the end of. Because you know in the back of your mind no mater where and when you seem them next, whatever the circumstances, the atmosphere will never be the same as this. You'll never get this moment back. And from note one, Free energy @ The Croc was that show.

- Intern Bryce

Click here for a post show interview w/ lead singer Paul Sprangers

Free Energy - Bang Pop