Power threesome The Courtesy Tier happened to be the first band I saw at this years Northside Fest. They also happened to leave the best impression on me afterwards.
During their 30 or so minute gig at Spike Hill, the Brooklyn-based rock trio opened their set with the sweet opening riffs and killer drum fills of ‘Cold’, and I was instantly drawn into their musical spell for the rest of the set. Although their time on stage was short, it wasn’t hard to see the group had built their garage band foundation on a solid balance of strong guitar and bass lines, and rhythmic chemistry. Anyone watching and listening to the band could immediately tell they were running wavelengths on the same musical frequency.
The band has been playing around New York since 2009, but guitarist Omer Leibovitz and bassist Lauren Stockner have been playing together in various lineups for the better half of a decade. With their current lineup set with drummer Layton Weedeman, the band fits right in with the talented wave of guitar bands that dominate Brooklyn at the moment. Their jam band style is what helps them fit in, but it’s their chemistry and clear sounding combination of leads that gives the band originality and a true signature sound.
Omer’s biggest strength is to use a variety of standard and open tunings as he builds on each song like a sculptor adding layers to a piece of art. His lead ability is evident not just in the song ‘Cold’, but also in ‘Friend’, which was another exciting song in the set that afternoon. His riffs could almost be compared to John Butler playing a bluesy roots piece, but grungy and dirty enough to sound like an early Zeppelin jam. To his left, Lauren was holding down the low end on bass while still creatively exploding on her own with baselines that perfectly complimented the dynamics of the guitar.
Hopefully these guys keep harnessing their jam band style into their own voice that keeps rocking Brooklyn. If you listen to their first album The Resolution (Which was recorded in a 7×7 ft room with 3 mics) you can hear the raw energy and carefully organized sloppiness that gives the band their awesome sound. I highly recommend seeing these guys live. Hopefully the next time I see Courtesy Tier it wont be so festively short.
Article by: Tom Shackleford
Photo Credit: Zoe Hiigli