Costume changes, crowd surfing in an inflatable raft, encouraging audience members to stomp on a floor full of balloons – this all occurred within the first few minutes of Bob Log III taking the stage Sunday night at The Saint.
A combination of seemingly equal parts of debauchery promoter, Animal House-esque wrecking ball, and simultaneous multi-instrumentalist, Log has a talent for bringing rave-like frenzy to an organic-oriented blues rock crowd. Throughout it all, Log’s rollicking swampy blues guitar, played over dual-footed kick drum, cymbal and beat pedals, might even be mistaken for a single hourlong wormy loop track, broken up by finger picking and the occasional gap to encourage the crowd to share drinks with neighboring strangers or for audience members to climb onto his lap midsong. Two women took him up on the offer.
Above all of this, Log’s use of a gold glitter motorcycle helmet, with an embedded telephone receiver acting as a microphone, inspired guests to don their own helmets, as well as a wolf mask passed around among dancing audience members throughout the 60-minute set. The Saint’s beerhall atmosphere did nothing to dampen the sense of revelry, as Log’s joking banter whipped the room up into a dancing mess of bodies and sustained the energy throughout.
After he announced his final song, audience members heeded his request to jump onstage and crush the few balloons that had managed to evade this fate earlier. Log left the chaos, still picking his unplugged guitar, and walked out the front door and into the center of South Virginia Street, with traffic passing in each direction, before eventually disappearing into the parking lot as the beat track looped more and more quietly and eventually the house music came back on.
Some Sunday nights you head to the local watering hole to catch some music, have a drink, and relax before heading back into the workweek grind. Bob Log III, however, definitely does not make for one of these nights. All it takes is for the masked guy onstage to give permission to go frat house crazy in a room with a bunch of like-minded friends, and the next thing you know, you’re leaving a room full of popped balloons, not to mention a deflated raft, into one of the first warmer nights of the season thinking about how tomorrow’s hangover will no doubt have been worth it.
Reno’s Alphabet Cult opened the night with heavy screeching and menacing brand of rock, sounding like it may take cues from stoner sludge to the Pixies, with pummeling drumming and dual male/female vocals layered on top. This three piece’s dark distortion-drenched songs capture the chasmlike void of Reno’s declining urban grit, in a way that makes you feel like you might still be in a friend’s garage and the influx of Californians, top-tier tech companies and foodie culture is still somewhere far away.