|Posted by Teresa Nienhaus on January 25, 2010 at 11:40 AM|
Momentary Girls Playback STL Magazine
Written by Gabriel Bullard
Saturday, 28 July 2007
They played "Down By The River." For over seven minutes. With extended one-note guitar solos.
Hartford Coffee Company, St. Louis
According to their flyer, the Momentary Girls are "Five local moms performing an eclectic mix of rock, folk, R&B, jazzy, and contemporary cover tunes." Typically, that would mean "Mediocre bar band that happens to be all female." But after seeing them live, I know it means "One of the best baby boomer cover acts in the city."
The Momentary Girls aren't the type of band I would normally go see. I'll admit, I only went to the show for the novelty of the group. I expected to hear ‘Mom Rock' music; songs by Liz Phair, Joan Baez and Melanie. When they started playing "Sympathy for the Devil," though, I knew I was mistaken.
The most surprising thing about the Rolling Stones cover wasn't that the Momentary Girls pulled it off, it was that they were able to do what most bar bands either can't, or never try, to do; take a classic rock song and make it their own. There were no drums in the band, just acoustic guitar, electric guitar, keyboard and bass. Also, two members of the band were gone, leaving just a trio of moms to switch between those four instruments - five if you count the seldom-used 12-string guitar. Even with sparse instrumentation, the song came out great. They even did the "Woo-woo" background vocals. The vocals, by the way, were the strongest part of the show. (Except for the bass line on "Sittin' on the Dock of the Bay," which I've never heard a cover band play well...until now.)
The times when the show did drag were the times when the band did what was expected. Sure, the Sheryl Crow covers sounded fine, but anyone could've guessed an all mom band - from St. Louis no less - would play Sheryl Crow covers. Also, the cover of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young‘s "Teach Your Children" was too predictable to do anything more than bring a smile to every parent in the audience.
If the obvious song choices hurt the show, the unpredictable moves made it great. For example, given that the group had a light, 70s-inspired folk-rock sound, it would make sense that they would cover a Neil Young song. Maybe they would play "Heart of Gold" or something off of Harvest. No way, not these ladies. They played "Down By The River." For over seven minutes. With extended one-note guitar solos.
The murder-ballad jam was almost as unexpected as the basket full of percussion instruments that the band passed around while asking the audience to participate in a cover of The Beatle's "Birthday," which the Momentary Girls played for their friend who was celebrating her fiftieth that night.
The show was proof that appearances - and descriptions on flyers - can be deceiving. Next time you see members of Brentwood's Birkenstock set sipping lattes at the Bread Company, imagine them passing out maracas, playing great slide guitar and nailing the three-part harmony on "The Weight."