LIVE REPORTFIELD OF HEAVEN8/20 FRI
A Jam Band to be Reckoned With
Little Creatures delivered a sixty-minute set of tasty original indie rock, with a simple bare-bones trio approach. A few hundred fans stood within a well-spaced crowd in front of the stage. And, a few hundred others hung some forty feet back; on camping seating they appeared to have brought themselves. This is “thinking person’s rock”. In between two songs, the lead singer and guitarist thanked the audience for their applause and support, and confessed that, although the festival asked people not to cheer this year – because of the pandemic – perhaps their music was not the type that was suited to cheering anyway. Their fans then guffawed in approval.
Diving into a cerebral track like a mix of The Dismemberment Plan, Death Cab for Cutie, and American Football, Little Creatures had their following in the palms of their hands. The lead singer’s riffing drew on a large number of sources, from country to math rock and other niche genres. It seemed perfectly suited to this stage, Fields of Heaven; Fuji Rock’s most “outdoorsy” stage; the one that is the most encroached upon by the neighboring wilderness. One could imagine Little Creatures sharing a fanbase with The Grateful Dead or Primus; while perhaps not a jam band per se, they definitely possess a jam-band esthetic. And, the hippie-ish clothing on many in attendance would give weight to that hypothesis. Commercialism is not altogether forsaken, however, as one track which garnered much applause bore strong hints of Blur’s “Girls and Boys”
No sooner was that track over, however, than Little Creatures were back out onto the edge, stretching the parameters of what could be danced to. However, a pair of toddler daughters dancing frenetically with their papa proved that no one was lost in these experiments. No matter what their explorations, the groove was always nailed down hard. And, like a band of jazz veterans, they always knew when to dive home the downbeat. The aforementioned Papa then bounced with fists in the air, as the novel track came to a halt.
The band then asked the crowd if they were enjoying themselves, and their fans applauded agreeably. The bassist then said that they released an album this year that was supposed to come out the year before, and seemed surprised that his band had been together for a whole thirty years. The drummer then added, “Yeah, we’re in our fifties now!” to which the audience laughed. Perhaps the biggest proof of this band’s audience’s fidelity, however, was when the lead vocalist got the audience to clap a “clavé” counterhythm to the bassist’s clearly old-school funk.
With fifteen minutes left in their set, as the audience’s applause died out, Little Creatures started a song with a riff reminiscent of indie legends American Football (who played Fuji Rock 2019) which was then joined by a winding bass riff which was free of any genre. The drumming could then be best explained as experimental jazz, with a constant 4/4 kick drum to support it. Despite the meandering riffing, the audience remained rapt, with many in attendance swaying funkily from side to side. Others gesticulated rhythmically with their hands. Another proof of the solidity of this band’s following was seen in how those in attendance could follow Little Creatures through extended jams all the way to their resolution into grooves as solid as a Queen hit. If anything, the crowd dancing at the front of the stage only got bigger as Little Creatures’ set drew to a close. When the last number of their set ended suddenly, the band received a standing ovation, and Little Creatures told their fans to enjoy the rest of the fest.
[Photo: 10 All photo]