Apache Relay bring their wall of sound to The Roxy
With chords of Southern comfort and ache, Apache Relay took over The Roxy on Thursday night.
The boys had come all the way from Tennessee to perform their brand of rock on the Sunset Strip, that all important spot where a band can be judged worthy or unwanted. But their sound is raw and driven, full of heart and memories.
The good sized crowd at the Roxy got a taste of the band's early folk sounds from their 2009 debut "1988" and their 2011 breakthrough "American Nomad," and a look into their bold new material from their upcoming album "The Apache Relay."
The new music is an elegant roar, think of Phil Spector's Wall Of Sound meets Howlin' Wolf or The Doors during their "Morrison Hotel" period.
With the crowd primed for their sound, the Apaches opened with a dynamite rocker featuring Harris' precise, yet fiery slide guitar. Ford Jr. strummed his own electric and crooned like a beast out of the bayou.
And yet the new material entranced the crowd with its refined, sometimes lush power. The stand out was the band's current single, "Katie Queen Of Tennessee," an aching love letter to a Tennessee beauty beyond the singer's reach.
"I would swim the ocean wide, from New Orleans to Galilee," crooned Ford Jr. like someone who knows what he's talking about.
It was a signal that the Apache Relay might be ready for a major breakthrough. With their new, hybrid sound they are ready to compete on the charts with major players like Jack White and Arctic Monkeys.
The rest of the evening had a feverish energy as the band tore through numbers like "Don't Leave Me Now," rarely ever slowing down but always playing with a skill worthy of Aerosmith and a sound even Stevie Ray Vaughn might have admired.
Their new mix of a classic 60s sound with their rock/folk identity has a quality rare in the technically cold atmosphere of bands like Imagine Dragons.
The set list included some great slow burners too like "Sets Me Free" and "Home Is Not The Place" from "American Nomad," where Ford Jr. moved to every word while Harris plucked some delicate notes.
Apache Relay played The Roxy as if it were natural territory for them. They can hold their own with the best the charts have to offer. Their sound was full of fury and heart, two admirable qualities that can make the difference between a good song and a great one.