Lizard Lounge Cambridge, MA
The Players: Dan Zedek, guitar, vocals; Joan Anderman, guitar, vocals; John Kehe, drums, vocals; Phil Magnifico, bass, vocals.
Material: Like a cross between the melan-choly Southern rock of CSNY with the tragic rebelliousness of mid-‘90s / early millennium pop rock, the incongruously named Field Day conjures visions of honeyed horizons and warm baths rather than children joyously frolicking amidst sunflower fields. Casual rhythms frame exquisite harmonies punctuated by quotidian guitar bridges that electrify one’s soul like mana from Heaven.
Musicianship: The key to unlocking Field Day’s sound is absorbing the elegantly refined nature of their compositions, often marked by hypnotically repetitive lyrics and always by delicately rehearsed unity. Vocals are this band’s focal point and greatest asset, exuding an unvarnished beauty that gently massages the listener’s raw nerves. Instead of overcompensating with showy technique, lead guitarist Dan Zedek displays notes so simple yet perfectly placed it’s as if they plopped out of a mold provided directly from the mind of Plato.
Performance: Attended by a respectful crowd, the set was intently absorbed as the group demonstrated their artistry in dignified fashion. While the band’s aural makeup first strikes one as exhilarating, their songs eventually devolve into seeming predictability, dangerously risking a fall into boredom. Besides the tunes themselves, the quartet doesn’t offer much by way of excitement, declining to attract listeners with the flashy substance embraced by some of their younger peers. They similarly lack any branding, declining to mention their name until after they’d played their final note.
Summary: Although their sound is as refreshing as a gulp of strawberry lemonade while being caressed by a breeze on a mountain peak, Field Day’s style never evolves, instead settling into a groove that appears content to lie still. One can’t discount the soft glow of love behind the band’s earnest demeanor, particularly when bolstered by such positive juju, yet it doesn’t seem they’re actively working to reach the next level. Diversifying their catalog and amplifying an effort toward connecting with new audiences would serve them well. – Andy Kaufmann