Simplified at The Great Atlantic Music Fest 3/21
Review by Rick Grant
When I arrived at 6:00 pm, Simplified was ready to launch its set. The group comes from Charlotte, North Carolina and has been slugging away for five years. Fronted by Clee Laster, the 6′ 7″ lead singer and guitarist, the group’s 2007 album, Smile won Best Rock Album of 2007 at the Charlotte Music Awards.
Chris Sheridan provides the colorful lead guitar stylings that are always in context with the subtleties of the songs. Chris is not a grandstander, but he gets into the music with inspired fervor. His lead work is in perfect sync with Clee’s masterful acoustic guitar playing. On bass, Chris Lynch holds down a funky bottom end which is in the groove pocket with Tim Lail’s creative drumming which is especially notable in a world of mediocre percussionists.
Listening to Simplified live, I actually got excited about music again. The group played songs from their 2007 album Smile and their latest 2008 album Elephant Sky. Man, the title cut opens with a clever guitar riff that grabs the listener by the neck and says, “Listen to this!” Then the break drops off the ledge and hits you in the diaphragm. This song will take your breath away with its twangy electric sound blended into Clee’s acoustic guitar and soft vocals.
There’s something wonderful about this group’s music that levitates the listener into a joyous state of mind. Hey, that’s the way music used to make me feel before the wretched crap-rap and dark-metal sent popular music into the dark ages of the 90s and early 2000s.