On Monday afternoon, on the brink of embarking on a 32-date U.S. headlining tour, including a sold out performance May 30th at Maxwell’s in Hoboken, with the likes of Drowning Men and Ben Henderson, all culminating with a Northeastern weekend jaunt in July alongside Brick+Mortar, River City Extension did not venture to an undisclosed location to perform a secret impromptu set to a collection of friends and family at a Memorial Day backyard barbecue setting of sorts.
However, if the outfit had, it might have gone down like this:
Front-man Joe Michelini might have sipped a glass a red wine and sported a floppy sun hat attempting to keep a series of salty drippings out of his eyes in a sweltering surrounding, and it might have loosened during “Glastonbury,” the opening number of this alleged set as well as the Folk-Rock collective’s sophomore full-length release Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Your Anger (due out June 5th), while hanging on by a single knotted lock of hair on “Welcome To Pittsburgh,” and been completely dislodged from his mop-like black mane during the furious second half of “There And Back Again,” upon which River City Extension may have included an elongated jam session driven by the Spanish trumpet styling of Dan Melius.
“Thank you all for coming to this,” Michelini would have said to his people if such a moment had occurred. “It’s been a long time prepping for this tour and this album. Thank you all for sending us off in such a warm way.”
River City Extension might have proceeded with the multi-tempoed and genre-hopping composition “Our New Intelligence,” a fan favorite from the band’s 2010 breakthrough debut full-length The Unmistakable Man, and followed up with its latest Pop-Rock compositon “Point Of Surrender” before Michelini would address the congregation once more.
“This album will be out on June 5th,” he’d say, “and we’ve been trying to release as much material as possible from it. And I regret not releasing this next song prior to the record being out, but there’s no better time that present I suppose.”
With that, Michelini would pluck the rounded acoustic guitar riff to “Standing Outside A Southern Riot,” a mellow piece of self reflective music with violin accompaniment, and the situations might have left various members of the outfit’s mouths agape as many in the assemblage join the troupe leader in a campfire-like sing along.
Later in this fantastical happening perspiration begins to glisten off Michelini’s axe as he leads a band featuring such touring players as the previously mentioned opening act Ben Henderson, a San Jose-based solo artist turned RCE bass plucker, and Toms River axe wielder John Muccino, through intensified versions of “If You Need Me Back Brooklyn” and “Nautical Sabbatical” begging the question, can the group retain this heightened energy throughout such a lengthy promenade?
After, Sam Tacon might stare down from her perch and lock eyes with a patriotic baby clad in red, white, and blue with protective headphones smiling and dancing with his mother to “Battle Of Oregon,” kicking his legs and pumping his tiny fist (or so it would seem) to “Everything West Of Home,” the sights, sounds, and experiences inspirational ones, possibly influencing this child to become the next great area rockstar.
Michelini would then lead his sweat-drenched compatriots through “Something Salty, Something Sweet” before prefacing the closing tune with “I felt like when we were prepping a set list for this tour it was a toss up between the old, the new, and what we’ve never done. And if we were going to play stuff from The Unmistakable Man we wanted to do things we’ve never played live before.” He would then cue up “Waiting In The Airport” before joining the group in
NOTE: Again, this performance DID NOT take place. What is described above is merely wishful thinking, a situation developed in the heatstroked mind of a local music journalist with an overactive imagination altered by the consumption of Yuengling and char-grilled cheeseburgers on a temperate Memorial Day afternoon…check out our Staff Artist’s (Kristen Driscoll) renderings of this musical mirage below and be sure to see the band in a city near you on the following dates:
05.29.12 – Hamden, CT – The Space
05.30.12 – Hoboken, NJ – Maxwells
05.31.12 – Washington, DC – 6th and I
06.01.12 – Charlottesville, VA – The Southern
06.02.12 – Chapel Hill, NC – Local 506
06.04.12 – St. Augustine, FL – Cafe 11
06.05.12 – Orlando, FL – The Social
06.06.12 – Atlanta, GA – The Masquerade
06.08.12 – Dallas, TX – The Prophet Bar
06.09.12 – Austin, TX – Stubbs BBQ (inside)
06.10.12 – San Antonio, TX – Korova
06.12.12 – Tucson, AZ – Club Congress [Tickets]
06.13.12 – San Diego, CA – The Casbah
06.14.12 – Phoenix, AZ – The Rhythm Room [Tickets]
06.15.12 – Los Angeles, CA – The Satellite [Tickets]
06.16.12 – San Francisco, CA – Bottom of the Hill
06.17.12 – San Jose, CA – The Blank Club
06.19.12 – Portland, OR – Backspace
06.20.12 – Seattle, WA – Barboza
06.22.12 – Salt Lake City, UT – Kilby Court
06.23.12 – Denver, CO – Marquis Theatre
06.24.12 – Lawrence, KS – Jackpot Music Hall
06.26.12 – Minneapolis, MN – 7th Street Entry
06.27.12 – Chicago, IL – Schubas Tavern
06.28.12 – Grand Rapids, MI – The Intersection
06.29.12 – Pontiac, MI – The Pike Room
06.30.12 – Akron, OH – Musica
07.02.12 – Pittsburgh, PA – Altar Bar