Last week we caught up with Brooklyn-based band The Highway
at Cameo Gallery in Williamsburg. Their set opened in a place closer to classic, maybe even hard rock, and progressed into an all out psych-rock fest that might have been a bit beyond the too cool for school weekday late night crowd. Playing it cool just isn't what these guys are about.
As the band fell deeper into their set, their true sound reared it's head, and the groups energy transformed from foot tapping rock n roll to the kind of effusive psych folk that recalls Edward Sharpe on a low level acid trip in the best way. "It's definitely based on rock music, rock n roll you know, but I think we're really heading towards this experimental direction. Some call it psychedelic, we're trying to call it soul music, because it's got soul," lead singer and bassist Daniel Tortoledo said of their sound when we caught up after the show.
Tortoledo and drummer Ted MacInnes are the real spine of the group. They've been playing together since they were teenagers in Boston, though Tortoledo originally hails from Venezuela and MacInnes is from Connecticut. Their long time friendship is apparent the way they play off of each other on stage. Tortoledo has an Alex Ebert-like energy of the musically possessed, minus the whole cult leader vibe, but replete with inspired dance breaks that are often supported by MacInnes' charged drums. That said, their sound isn't aggressively trippy. "We want simple, pretty sounding music that's also inventive and interesting," added MacInnes. "[We aim] not to be so weird, we want it to be palatable too."
Aside from Tortoledo and MacInnes, The Highway is composed of a relatively new ensemble cast. Alejandro Meola on guitar was unfortunately unable to be at the Brooklyn gig, but fellow guitarist Adam Douglass lent technically beautiful guitar riffs, and Griffin McMahon's liquid key board glued the set together. Now that band membership has come to a comfortable place, their creative process is expanding to include the new kids on the block as well. Combined influences include everyone from Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd to Marvin Gaye and Otis Redding, to MGMT, and each one of them has it's moment to shine among the unified sound that is a live set from The Highway.
Catch them on tour for a dose of warm community rock n' psych soul:
March 4 @ The Rock Shop in Fayetteville, NC
March 5 @ Juggling Gypsy in Wilmington, NC
March 7 @ Burro Bar in Jacksonville, FL
March 9 @ The Mill in Charleston, SC
March 11 @ The Pour House Music Hall in Raleigh, NC
March 22 @ SpiN in New York, NY