January 23, 1994
Nightwatch - By Scott McLennan
Boston's Tribe fares better
than the supercollider
[sic], Curtain Society
When: 9:30 p.m. Friday
Where: Bowlers, 104 Prescott St. Worcester
How Much: $7 in advance, $8 at the door
Some bands develop legendary
followings. Look at the legions of Deadheads loyal to
the Grateful Dead. And who can forget the Kiss Army?
But Tribe tapped into a new rock'n'roll
reservoir with its song "Supercollider," named
after the giant atom-smasher being build in Texas until
the federal government pulled the project's money last
Scientists working on the project
dug the band and the song and began flooding Tribe with
messages at it's E-mail address. The band's computer
correspondence line is listed along with a more traditional
fan-club post office box on Tribe's "Sleeper"
album released last year.
LaValley, singer for Tribe said a crowning moment in
a busy year was going down to the ill-fated supercollider
to shoot a video for the song in October. "Shortly
after we made the video, the funding was cut. But we
got to tour the facility and the scientists working
there were big fans," LaValley said.
Hard to Peg
Just another quirky element to
a band that has always been hard to peg.
Tribe never did fit comfortably
into the "Boston sound." Sure, the band still
commands a loyal following in it's hometown, but on
the road Tribe's roots do little to help get a handle
on its sound.
The same can be said for Aerosmith,
J. Geils Band, Boston, or The Cars. Even though each
of those bands has a sound distinct from others, they
all have that intangible quality that smacks of Beantown.
It's sort of a collision of learnedness and leather
In its seven-year history, Tribe
has absorbed the Boston sound's passion for unbridled
guitars. But in lyric; presentation and presence, Tribe
separated itself from the pack. LaValley, keyboard player
Terri Barous, guitarist Eric Brosius and bass player
Greg LoPicoolo settled on a more ambient mix that shifts
back and forth between light and dark hues. At its best,
Tribe makes the listener feel a song before understanding
its meaning. "Here at the Home," Daddy's Home,"
and "Joyride" had that effect and quickly
became cult hits.
On "Sleeper," its second
full-length release on Slash Warner Bros. Records, Tribe
continues to work its magic, particularly on the songs
"Crawl," "Supercollider," "Red
Rover," and "Romeo Poe." The album has
more of a romantic aura about it - even on the harder-edged
songs - than Tribe's previous releases did. But Tribe
never loses its spine on "Sleeper" as many
Gothic bands do when wading into murky romanticism.
"It's an evolution,"
LaValley said of Tribe's more recent work. "There
are no conscious attempts to sound a certain way."
Tribe brings its evolved sound,
and recently acquired drummer Michael Levesque, to Bowlers,
104 Prescott St., Worcester, on Friday. Advance tickets
for $7 are available at Bowlers, Ralph's Diner, 95 Prescott
St., Worcester, and Coffee Kingdom, 2 Richmond Ave.,
Worcester. Tickets are $1 more on the night of the show.
The show is one of a handful of New England club dates
before the band embarks on a tour of Europe.
Levesque joined the band in the
fall, shortly after the release of "Sleeper,"
and replaced founding member David Penzo. "He was
great. He never played with our band, but he studied
all our music," LaValley said of Levesque. The
song "Supercollider" is just coming out as
a single, and depending on its reception by MTV and
radio the band will go back on the road for more extensive
U.S. touring around the European dates.
To its credit, Tribe stuck to
its guns on "Sleeper." The band worked as
a democracy in putting together "Sleeper."
Barous and Brosius penned the majority of the albums
dozen, a turnaround from the band's major-label debut.
LaValley explained that they just pick the songs they
feel are the strongest. "On the first record it
was the other way around. There's no meaning to it,
it's just a democratic process," she said. "They
didn't pay attention to what I can sing. They write
what they want, and they're great writers. I've never
had difficulty relating to the material." LaValley's
husky, measure tone still anchors the Tribe sound. And
as on past efforts, big, meaty melodic hooks are found
all over "Sleeper."
The many awards Tribe has garnered
in the Boston music scene are translating into even
greater prominence. The band landed an appearance on
"Late Night with Conan O'Brien" and was picked
by Spin magazine as a band to watch in '94. The events
of '93 sort of snuck up on Tribe, much the same way
its music can catch a listener off guard. "It's
been an exciting year when you stop and list everything
that's happened," LaValley said. Sometimes you
just have to stop and think about things to really appreciated