Editor’s note: Greg Gilmore performs at 3 p.m. Sunday at Alibi Ale Works – Incline Public House outside in the beer garden.
Where were you when the March 2020 Covid lockdown occurred? Greg Gilmore & the Fever Dreams players will never forget where they were, and they have a record to prove it.
The band had schleped from Reno to Sacramento through a blizzard that closed Interstate 80, making it to Pus Cavern Recording Studio. Like a rock ‘n’ roll version of the snowbound Donner Party, the musicians were “soundbound” for a week.
“We were stuck in there,” Gilmore said. “If we left after 10 o’clock it was considered a misdemeanor in Sacramento County. “We were locked in there, planning to record six songs for an EP. We ended up with 10.”
The 10 original compositions make up the album “Premonition,” which was celebrated with a performance Saturday at Cypress Reno. It was the first indoor show for the newly named band.
Four of the five members from the group formerly called Silver are Gilmore on vocals and rhythm guitar, Brendon Lund on bass and percussion, Jeff Knight on drums and Adam Landis on keyboards. New lead guitarist Jorge Pulido-Rubio, formerly of Cowboy Indian, put his licks on top of the soundbound sessions.
The opening track has a unique percussion: tire chains slapping the studio’s concrete floor. Lund, who played chains with the ultimate garage (parts) band Buster Blue, did so on “She’s Watching You.”
There is a dynamite slapsticky video that accompanies the second song, “Do What You Do.” “Best for Last” is an anthemic disco upon which Gilmore revels his vocal chops and Pulido-Rubio shines on a tasty solo. “Nothing Is What it Seems” is a minor chord rock anthem. Knight, Lund and Landis mash complicated rhythms into the album’s best track, “I Can’t Wait.”
“I was trying to touch as may bases as possible,” Gilmore said. ”I’ve always tried to have a certain sound for each collective recording but this time I tried to see how many I could explore while still sounding hopefully like the same band.”
The album finishes with a rocker. “Pay You to Leave” is clear homage to Cake with its bare opening guitar riff. Johnston produced Cake’s first album, 1994’s “Motorcade of Generosity,” which led to the Sacramento band’s signing with Capricorn.
There’s definitely a lot of ‘90s (influence),” Gilmore said. “Joe Johnston, the engineer, he came up in the ‘90s so there’s a lot of his feel for things. But also definitely a lot of ‘60s-70s radio rock kind of stuff. And Nirvana is a pretty big influence, as well.”
While Greg Gilmore & the Fever Dreams were holed up in the studio on March 15, 2020, blues-rocker Tinsley Ellis performed at the midtown Reno venue, calling it “The Last Concert on Earth.” As it turns out, it merely was the final concert for a long time but also the last concert for the Saint. The venue has been renovated and its acoustics are improved. Cypress Reno has booked a number of outstanding shows already since its opening this spring.