Material: Down North is a jam band at its core, due mainly to their expansive instrumental breaks. The passion and enthusiasm is apparent in each song, but the melodic content could be improved. Briscoe is a talented vocalist and it is a shame to not see more of that melodic power, especially in choruses. The arrangements across the board could be streamlined; songs kind of dragged as the set went on. Lyrically, the songs don’t necessarily stand out, but lyrics are not the band's primary concern. For the songs to be even more fun, trimming them down and adding more pop to those choruses will go a long way.
Musicianship: These performers have clearly invested time into practicing and they played a tight and professional set. Immediately striking is the rhythm section, Real and Storms. Influenced by some of the funk masters, their skills created a tight and impressive force. Quiller, however, stuck out in the set with rambunctious guitar stylings that seemed to belong in a different band. When he played as a rhythm guitarist, he fit into the mix with just as much grace as his bandmates. Most of his screaming guitar solos, however impressive, were not necessary and detracted from the performance. Finding a different guitar tone could likely fix that entire problem.
Performance: Briscoe is a powerful trifecta of moves, pipes and charisma. He comes out swinging with unparalleled energy, and his band backs him up with as much enthusiasm. Clearly inspired by the greats, the band offers a unique blend of Cee Lo Green vocals, James Brown moves and Gap Band jam stylings. Not one of the players lacked in energy, and shined just like their frontman as they were each given their moment. Every player carried the team equally, and the crowd responded in turn to the infectious performance.
Summary: Down North is a band of incredible players whose skills can deliver a fantastic show. Their song structures and arrangements, however, are not all they could be. Trimming some of the songs, perhaps aiming to keep them under four minutes, and modifying the exhausting guitar tone would be a vast improvement. They have the guts, they have the skills, and they have the show down pat. Getting their songs in the perfect place will.