Molehill is a 4 piece indie rock group that hails from Chicago. On this night they were playing at Joe’s on Weed, a nice modern mid-size venue, before a quick stint on the east coast. Molehill consists of drums, guitar, bass, and keys. They play a brand of rock which draws a lot upon the blues, but not strictly, as there are obvious indie and R & B undertones occasionally mixed into their sound as well. Songs can quickly become funky or groovy as these guys seem to be proud of their assorted influences. Drawing upon this ability to instantly alter their energy level, they use being incredibly in-sync with each other as a way to punctuate each song emotionally as well as musically. Often they move from a rock sound, into a move groovier rhythm and sound, only to quickly revert back to their more aggressive side. Often this adjustment occurs when the chorus enters, but not always. Such honed synchronization is a sign of a band that is very well rehearsed, and makes for a good live show.
The first thing one notices when taking in the band is that the lead singer/guitarist (Peter Manhart) is quite adept at playing while moving around the stage exuberantly. He does not appear to like to stand still, instead choosing to try to entice the crowd to be as sincerely excited about the music as himself. The next thing you notice is their aforementioned ability to play energetic rock with various foundations. Their numbers On The Wall and I Hope You’re Happy had great side-step R & B feel to them, songs that couldn’t help but remind this author of New Orleans. Then on others like, Money Life, they take on a more plodding & edgy rock sound. Jumper came off slightly funky with the faintest hint of electrorock. Now to be sure, each song seems to be anchored in blues-rock. But by being dynamic with the undertones of their tracks they engaged their crowd well.
Molehill could probably benefit from including their keyboardist in a more dynamic manner on some of their tracks. On their 7th song of the evening, I’m Okay, the keys seemed to take the lead on the beat and it created for one of their more captivating songs of the evening. Also, seeing what they could have done with a more subdued song would have been nice, seeing their adept flexibility with more spirited rock numbers. However, they can probably be forgiven for that, as Bret Michaels was playing after them and they were aware of what type of crowd they were playing to. All in All, Molehill is a young band that has the raw talent and that ineffable ability to consistently “play in the pocket,” which must come from resolute practicing. They are quite definitely worth checking out.