By the time The Overtones were on stage, Gina, the owner of the Sail Inn, had been feeding me PBRs and Jager all night. Hell, she even let me sign the knockoff Explorer on the wall. God bless him, Dr. Genius even had most of a Guinness all to himself. Rip roarin’ and ready, our host Brighton found us inside the bar and claimed that we had to see the band playing outside. He was right. The Overtones, from Tempe, were spellbinding.
Playing as a seven-piece, The Overtones consisted of two guitars, two drum kits, one female singer, one bass and one Lead Psychedelic Bass, the last handled by the band’s mastermind and lead singer, Slim Bolba, who looked like he stepped right out of a National Geographic magazine.
Psychedelic Lead Bass: pitch-shifted-up, fuzzed-out and delayed, Slim’s tone sounded like David Gilmour’s slide guitar on Pink Floyd’s â€œCareful With That Axe Eugene,â€ coupling with his vocal melodies or otherwise soaring into psych-out dreamland. Plus, in the stage light, it looked like they had just thawed CroMagnon Man out of a glacier and handed him a bass guitar.
â€œIn my land, we call this the ThunderStaff!â€ The supporting cast worked like a well-oiled, stoney machine, with drummers playing in near unison ala The Grateful Dead, the guitarists plucking lean, delayed Afro-pop style arpeggios close to the chest (figuratively and literally), and the (I guess rhythm?) bass holding a rumbling bottom end. The grooves were long on the drone, with dub and Afro-beat qualities giving the gathering of hippies something real to shuffle to.
Word on the street, according to one of the locals, is that Fortress of Attitude opened up for the king of the Tempe psych scene. Simultaneously, we found the missing link. He fronts The Overtones.
We left before the Irish punk band were finished setting up inside (much to the sound man’s chagrin I imagine). Thought the guy in the black kilt with the shaved head/Anton LaVey facial hair gave an air of promise, the next day’s drive was heavy and we had to be up early to make it to the next gig on time.