Orgone, Snug Harbor-June 23rd at the Wild Buffalo

Widely renowned group Orgone graced the stage at the Wild Buffalo on Sunday the 23rd, with local boys Snug Harbor opening up and getting everyone all excited. Not knowing much of anything about Orgone, I was expecting something more like Acorn Project, kind of a big-band thing with horns and guitar driven songs. Turns out, they’re a song-driven band with horns, keys, and percussion. So the two bands were a really good fit.

First off, both bands were really fun and exciting. I haven’t seen that many Bellingham music fans dancing like that since JD MacPherson came to town. Snug Harbor did a great job working to a growing audience, and warmed with the crowd until everything percolated with Orgone’s frenzied jamming.

Snug Harbor hit it off hard with a few burner jams, riff-based and driving, before settling into some thematic and vocally-driven material that offered nice variation in the middle of the set. After they brought it to a simmer, they really turned things up to finish their set, bringing the crowd to a rolling boil with some Snug classics and exciting new tunes. They were really firing all night, with good communication between members and a contagious energy. The guest vocalist they brought on, a fairly novice singer whose name I couldn’t make out clearly, really performed strongly, lending some powerful female vocals to their sound. I thought their performance was the strongest of the night.

After a quick switch, Orgone took the stage. This was the first time I’ve really noticed a band’s chemistry and energy ebbing and flowing, as this was the last stop on a decently long tour and they were looking for new things to say and do. They expressed sincere appreciation for the town and seemed to really vibe with the crowd, but they just seemed like they were running on fumes. Their performance was almost better for it, though. They never hit any wrong notes, they never lost the groove, and they seemed to share more equally the solo-ing duties and really lock into their established grooves, which they settled into really nicely at times. They took momentary respites in comfortable zones and their incredible skill and deft professionalism at their craft allowed it to translate into a very personable and gratifying performance. While Snug Harbor seemed to be hitting hard and really bringing it, Orgone were the veterans, showing you how it’s done.