Band Concert Review
PomeroyA Kansas City Staple
Double Door - Chicago, IL - April 22, 2006
By Terra Cooney
I remember my first Pomeroy show. I was walking away from a small stage at a music festival in Omaha, NE, circa 1999, after another band I knew finished playing. My body was dying to find a spot in the shade and a trickle of water from a nearby cool-water hose. As soon as this Kansas City, MO band dropped a beat that cut through the scorching temperatures of the outdoors, my tired, dancing legs and sticky skin gave into the movement that my newfound friends' music invoked. To my panic, as I and seemingly hundreds of other fans approached them, hungry for more after the performance, this was a Pomeroy era back before they carted CDs to every show. Since then the group has independently sold 20,000 albums, sold out shows from Denver to Chicago and beyond, switched keyboardists and attracted fans of funk, hip-hop heads, country lovers and head banging buffs alike. It's because of this diversity that Pomeroy has had to wave away music label offers from the biggest names to various indie reps. It's because of they way the band changes the mood of a room from song to song that they have built their fan-base far beyond the Midwest.
There's nothing like a Pomeroy show, especially if it's your first. In April at the Double Door, the five-piece band proved they're in the prime of their craft and still know exactly what it takes to infuse new listeners with awe. These musicians have found a large following in nearly every city they've played over the years, all the result of the seed one song planted with it's Midwestern airplay.
Setting the scene for probably the best show Ive seen Pomeroy play starts with the stage presence. Seeing them perform is incomparable to listening to one of their CDs in your roomeven if you play it loud. Picture this...the dimmed lights flicker on as if on perfect cue with Tyson Leslie's keys, hushing the room with the beginning notes of "Droppin'." His hair is blowing in the wind in true rockstar fashion; and in his Motley Crue T-shirt, you know this is not the limit to the type of sound Leslie can make with instruments. As soon as David Fairbanks' palms come in contact with his percussion of choice, your body has been overtaken by the movement the sound makes. Mid-song, you're built up by the high keyboard notes only to experience the climax and smoothness giving way to another verse. We feel this in our bones as the entire band gets the room into their groove...and this is just the first song of their set.
The rest of the performance proceeds with obvious tips to Stevie Wonder and The Charlie Daniels Band as they cover "Sir Duke" and "The Devil Went Down to Georgia ." This is a mix of music you can't find anywhere else. Leslie looks up to Metallica, Guns N' Roses and Butch Walker (which sounds like the upcoming season of "Rock Star," which the long-haired musician tried out for). He's been known to set the keys on fire (literally) while playing for effect and has been an indispensable player in Pomeroy since he joined the band later than the other four.
Matt Marron, who shares the vocals with Fairbanks depending on the song, has fiery fingertips displayed in the expert adaptation of a fiddle in the Charlie Daniels Band cover. In performing the song "Vocal," Fairbanks' apparent range reaches a sexy falsetto that blends perfectly with the deep, purring rhythms of the recording. Together with Dean Hopkins' talent on the bass and Chris Davis' abilities on the drums, you may not be able to explain it, but you'll most likely hear something you can nod to. In their sound, some of Pomeroy's other influences are detected, from Jurassic 5 to A Tribe Called Quest to Buddy Guy to Incubus to Frank Zappa and the list goes on. At this particular show, the band's metal-influences were also displayed in songs like "Under My Skin," which matches the instrumentals with quick, witty lyrics.
Chants for "Summer Nights," a song from Pomeroy's first album, started early. They obliged and didn't let down a single soul in the place that night. Their musical maturity is obvious and unstoppable at this point, so you'll probably want to get out and see a show sometime soon. If you're lucky, maybe they'll even hit their next live listeners with a rendition of their signature closing song "Roboflow," which this time, featured "The Trooper" by Iron Maiden. Where Pomeroy's boundaries in sound are, I don't think we'll ever know.