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The Swigs, The Possibles, Sky Bar, Friday, May 20

The Possibles, a sublime four-piece desert-rock outfit, conjure up images of shifting organic landscapes with songs expressing immutable truths about the human condition. Sometimes moody and poppy, and always endearing and engaging, their music provided the perfect backdrop for drinking a couple of cold ones after a long week.

Lead vocalist and guitarist Cyril Barrett has a gentleness in his voice that is imbued with blue-collar wisdom. Case in point was the song "Truth or Consequences," a melodic, poignant, beach-ready tune. Guitarist Tom Moore took the lead on the vocals for the song "I Confess," and Laura Kepner-Adney swooped in to harmonize midway through, arriving fashionably late to a welcoming and applauding audience. Brian Green, a prolific bass player in the Tucson music scene, turns subtlety into a major strength, and, along with drummer Brian Kessler, formed the ideal rhythmic foundation for the band. Their sound is an homage to the desert, while flirting with the idea of hitching a ride on the railroad in order to dip a foot into the ocean.

The Swigs, celebrating the release of their new Johnson Family Values, are a trio consisting of seasoned musicians having more fun than should be allowed by law. People who were sitting outside quickly jumped up to see what was happening inside Sky Bar when the band took the stage. The gravitational pull was provided courtesy of frontman Kevin Henderson's blistering guitar work. Concert-goer Cia Romano noted that Henderson has the combined stage presence of Soul Asylum's Dave Pirner and Led Zeppelin's Robert Plant. At times, the lyrics acted as window-dressing, enticing you to stay and listen to the rip-roaring guitar work to follow. Henderson's frenetic style on the fret board was grounded by the incredible rhythm section: Bass-player-extraordinaire Eric Snyder and outstanding drummer Mike Troupe provided a solid platform for Henderson to go all-out. Their original songs are a delicious mix of smokin' 1960s guitar riffs and the progressive and punk edges of the 1970s, tinted by the palpable shift that entered the sphere when grunge ousted hair metal as the reigning youth culture subgenre.

I'm shocked that Henderson's fret board didn't need to be hosed down after that 70-minute-plus performance. It was a display of some damn fine rock 'n' roll.

More by Mel Mason

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