Some bands are better live than they are on recordings. That will likely be the case when Tres Mts., the latest Pearl Jam spinoff band, takes the stage at Showbox at the Market tonight (March 16).
The band features Pearl Jam bassist Jeff Ament, King’s X vocalist Dug Pinnick and former Fastbacks drummer Richard Stuverud, and the best way to describe its debut record, "Three Mountains," is to call it inconsistent. The 13 songs on the record run the gamut of styles, with chugging rockers, soulful numbers, blues-driven guitar rock and even some light balladry that treads into adult contemporary territory. Sure, variety is the spice of life. But it also happens to be the Achilles heel of "Three Mountains."
All of the inconsistency makes for a lackluster record that never fully engages listeners the way it should. The album gets off to a good start with the chugging rocker “My Baby,” a song that shows what the band could sound like if it wanted to be a straightforward rock band, but unfortunately Tres Mts. doesn’t go in that direction. Instead the song is followed by a misfired attempt at funk (“Oh Lord”), and the group harmonizes on a fairly boring ballad (“God Told Me”).
Elsewhere Pinnick shows his impressive versatility with the soulful “She’s My New Song,” but that track is followed by “Utah,” a song that sounds as if the group is trying to ape the poppy side of '90s alt-rock.
Still, what the record lacks in consistency it makes up for in passion, which should come into play with the live performance. Pinnick’s bluesy growl is filled with passion and vocal flair just begging to be heard in person. His voice alone should make material from a mostly lackluster record soar in a club setting.
Add the fact that Pearl Jam guitarist Mike McCready will be performing with the band as its touring guitarist, and a lot of punch will likely be added to the songs off "Three Mountains." If you do attend the show don’t be surprised if there are a few hiccups in the set since it is the band’s first public performance.
Opening for Tres Mts. is local power-blues duo My Goodness, a band that alone is worth the price of admission. My Goodness is a relatively new band and definitely one to watch. Think early White Stripes without the excessive guitar solos, or a less polished Black Keys. This duo is poised to be one of the local breakout bands of 2011 (City Arts magazine ranked them as No. 4 in its best new bands in Seattle poll), so look for them to be signing a record deal, playing festivals, and making their mark on the scene soon.
If you go: Tres Mts. with My Goodness, 7 p.m. tonight (March 16), Showbox at the Market, 1426 First Ave., Seattle. Tickets cost $18 and can be purchased here.