Tres Mts. bring long-awaited grooves to the Paradise

A review of Tres Mts. at the Paradise Rock Club on March 27, 2011

, Managing Editor

The “three mountains” that make up Tres Mts. are Jeff Ament from Pearl Jam, dUg Pinnick of King’s X and Richard Stuverud of The Fastbacks, but the name Three Mountains is false advertising because the fourth, and tallest, peak of this group is one Mike McCready. With a break from their other projects, the band finally got the chance to hit the road, playing intimate club gigs, such as the one they played on Sunday at the Paradise Rock Club.

Supergroups create a tremendous amount of hype that often leads to disappointment because when these groups are formed, the songwriting can take a backseat because of the short time and little direction that the band has to put into their music. However, in Tres Mts. case, the opposite is true as their debut album is a finely-crafted work almost ten years in the making, without enough promotion to even sell out the Paradise.

Tres Mts. material was created through sporadic writing session involving the band’s three founding members, and later McCready. Not surprising, some of the band’s material touches on religion, a topic often covered in Pinnick’s songwriting with King’s X. The most powerful of which was “God Told Me”, a strong grievance against the Pope featuring lines like “God told me you don’t speak for him”. Despite the strong statement, it was a mellow, beautifully harmonized number, whose placement in the middle of the heavy grooving set made the message stand out even further.

On the other end of the spectrum, one of the night’s biggest ovations came after “She’s My New Song” turned from a soft, maraca-based beat into a rock n’ roll showcase with McCready in the spotlight. He may not be an official member but McCready fits in perfectly, laying down emphatic wah riffs in the slower songs while kicking the others into high gear with blistering Hendrix-inspired solos.

After cutting through the majority of their album, the band returned with Stuverud on keys for the ballad, “Life”, before pushing the show to an hour with a trio of covers. Following Roxy Music’s “In Every Dream Home A Heartache”, Pinnick delivered a perfect emulation of Billy Gibbon’s bass vocals on ZZ Top’s “La Grange”. McCready took full advantage of the opportunity playing the old blues-rock number presented him, but it was nearly a warmup for Jimi Hendrix’s “Fire”, which saw the guitarist riffing behind his head for the show finale.

With Pearl Jam slated to return to the studio this year, the future is uncertain for Tres Mts. If the schedules of Ament, Pinnick, Stuverud, and McCready happen to align again what is certain is they likely won’t be playing a room as small as the Paradise again. It may have been a slow climb for Tres Mts. to get to this point but they’re at peak performance.

Setlist:
1. Holes in the Road
2. Utah
3. Mystery
4. Makes Me Feel
5. God Told Me
6. Afrosheena
7. In the Middle
8. She’s My New Song
9. Oh, Lord
10. My Baby
Encore:
11. Life
12. In Every Dream Home a Heartache (Roxy Music cover)
13. La Grange (ZZ Top cover)
14. Fire (Jimi Hendrix cover)

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