Fox and The Law held my attention from the first chord to the last beat. The youthful four-piece band played a rocking show to a full house at Seattle’s Sunset Tavern, a kickoff to their eventual destination, SXSW in Austin. Onstage, they caught fire with energy, which was quite a feat considering the two guitarists were in the emergency room the night before getting pumped full of antibiotics after a bout with scarlet fever. Fox and The Law are releasing a full album this spring, so the exposure they’ll receive at SXSW will only add fuel to the fire.
Fox and The Law attacked the first song, “Unbelievable,” and got everyone’s ear with some distorted feedback and rollicking drums before the lyrics began. This is also the first song that streams on their website and is worth checking out. Explosive cheers and whoops rang from the audience after this song and throughout the rest of the set.
Guy Keltner, on lead vocals and guitar, looks like he just got his braces off last week. At 24, he has a maturity and vibrato in his voice which makes up for the youthful appearance. He has a “Mick Jagger Swagger” and lips to match. Somehow, he picked up the name Guy Fox (eventually leading to the band’s namesake), either for the looks or a pun on the infamous Guy Fawkes. Keltner also played a scorching guitar which crossed over into some bluesy Southern rock on a couple of songs. One of these songs, “Awake,” reminded me so much of the Dickinson boys’ band North Mississippi Allstars. I wondered what Keltner could do with a slide to give “Awake” a little more Southern soul.
Other members include Ryan Granger on guitar and vocals (and Guy’s hospital buddy), who didn’t look like he was feeling 100%; although it didn’t seem to affect his dynamic guitar work. Granger also got his turn to sing lead vocals, in playful Falsetto, on “Sleep With the Lights On.” Bassist/vocalist Patrick Dougherty’s fingers flew up and down the frets, including “Lemon Peel,” which had a giant sound with a Led Zeppelin-infused jam in the bridge. Drummer/vocalist Dan “Danimal” O’Neal, the youngest member at 21, played a vital role in bringing punch and intensity to the songs.
“Lemon Peel” begins at about 1:45, after a bluesy jam by Keltner, Granger and Dougherty:
Most of the songs were short and sweet, and never seemed negative or melodramatic. Each had a positive energy and power fueled by the two guitars and gripping vocals.
“In My Bed” was a highly spirited song with short jams and catchy “I’ll follow” lyrics.
Fox and The Law are driving down the coast with stops in Portland, OR, Monterey, CA, and West Hollywood’s Viper Room. After that show, they begin the long haul East to Austin, where they play SXSW on March 14. The Horde and The Harem and Western Haunts, the two other Seattle bands who played The Sunset that night, will join Fox and The Law at SXSW. The boys have a long road ahead of them, and with any luck a long career in the music industry.