LAGOON, UMBRELLA BIRD, RESCUE LIGHTS
Saturday, Oct. 24
A core of avid fans clustered near the stage to celebrate Lagoon's homecoming on Saturday night. Their fist-pumping and singing along were rewarded with a host of new material and a passel of favorites from the band's two previous albums.
At first, David Ziegler-Voll's voice seemed a bit unreliable, an affliction he shared with vocalists in both opening acts, Rescue Lights and Umbrella Bird. But the rest of Lagoon carried him through the little bumps, and after the third or fourth song, he'd found solid ground. By the end of the set, the band had generated two encores and something approximating a mosh pit.
Fans seemed especially delighted when Lagoon's original bassist, Woodie Polk, sat in. That was the band configuration that Tucsonans remember losing to the East Coast in 2007. Lagoon somewhat sensibly decided to pursue their music in a geography that had more venues per mile, the better to cultivate more fans and grow as a band. Polk later returned to finish his degree at the University of Arizona, alma mater of all of his Lagoon's bandmates except Ziegler-Voll. To fill the gap, drummer Marisa Chattman's brother Jacob joined the band.
Ziegler-Voll is credited with writing all of Lagoon's songs, but watching Marissa Chattman and guitarist Patrick McMahon, it's easy to see why the arrangements are always credited to Lagoon. Chattman plays with rare power and a flair for the unexpected, while McMahon contributes clean and melodic lines where a lesser player might deliver showboating riffs—which isn't to say he was above producing the occasional well-placed squall.
Second opener Umbrella Bird (formerly Lydian and the Amphibians) was also gifted with relatively exceptional drumming and guitar-picking. They, too, had a potentially strong harmony vocalist, but she seemed unreasonably self-conscious. Perhaps she could take some lessons in rock attitude from Marissa Chattman. But even she couldn't compensate for the unreliability of the lead vocals in the murky prog mix of the band's music.
The spanking-new Rescue Lights opened the evening with the prospect of an honest-to-goodness homegrown power-pop trio. It will be a while before their execution catches up to their ambition, but the potential seems to be worth encouraging.