The Boston Herald
July 17, 1993


Tribe, at Avalon, by Tristram Lozaw

Tribe can only hope that the hometown welcome that greeted the kickoff for its new CD "Sleeper" at a packed Avalon, including a mosh pit formed in the band's honor, will carry over to upcoming tour dates in the U.S. and Europe. At an 85-minute, 21-song show Wednesday night, it was obvious the band deserves to expand its fan base beyond strongholds in Boston, Texas and France. Tribe's live show often added a dynamic wallop to the 12 songs from "Sleeper", which was performed in its entirety. As if to emphasize the sultry, creative pop kick of the material, written mostly by the band's married-couple-to-be, guitarist Eric Brosius and keyboardist Terri Barous, singer Janet LaValley prowled the stage with a teasing smile. LaValley appeared to have grown as a frontwoman, her vocals convincing and demeanor alluring as she grinned in the crowd's direction, appearing to be holding out on the answer to a friendly riddle. Brosius' soaring guitar lines shone brightest on "Sing to Neptune," sort of a baroque rewrite of the old "Midnight Hour" riff. Bassist Greg LoPiccolo's "Supercollider," which switched from lush to dissonant crush, was another highlight, ably pumped along by new drummer Mike Levesque. But it was Barous' keyboard inventions, nearly swallowed up early on by an uneven sound mix, that really sparked the set. Her loping slide on "Miracle of Sound," warbling organ during "Dogflower," reverberating piano for "Nevermind" and echoing calliope on "Red Rover" gave the songs indelible identities. Barous joined with LaValley for sweet sweeps of harmony that nicely contrasted the chunky rhythms of "Crawl" and "Romeo Poe." But Barous' one stab at lead vocalist, on "Rescue Me," was a stiff one, with arms kept at her side. LaValley's best work was near the end of the set, with the band peaking behind her. She ripped through "Joyride" (the hit from the band's debut album "Abort"), the dreamy "Vigil" and the rushing build of "Jakpot," navigating soothing lullabies into rousing belts. And LaValley and the rest did an especially cool job of resurrecting the '60s gem, "Baby It's You" for their encores.

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