Score — a parking space on the front row in an already tightly packed parking lot at the Pour House Friday night. That doesn't happen very often. With all the tour buses lined up on the side of the building, I wondered for a second if Panic was in town, which, of course, I knew they weren't. I arrived early, so I could catch a glimpse of Moonalice's melding of roots, rock, and psychedelia. The band was recently formed by guitarists G.E. Smith (The Saturday Night Live band, Bob Dylan), along with a stellar group of musicians who have contributed to such acts as Hot Tuna and Jefferson Starship. As people poured inside, Moonalice's set flew by, belting out somewhere around 10 songs.
By the time headliners Tea Leaf Green took the stage, the house was packed. My drink kept getting looser in my hand as I tried to muscle up front through a sea of anxious 20-somethings for a few photos. Damn vultures. As I finally settled in near the back, it was, of course, set break. The band would eventually straggle back on stage for another set of sweaty keyboard/guitar heavy jam-rock songs that kept the crowd moving through the night. It's been about a year since I've seen these guys, and there is some definite growth in the tightness of their sound. Next time Tea Leaf Green is in Charleston, I wouldn't be surprised if it was at a larger venue. —John Zara