The final date of a tour may be as bad a time to review a band as opening night. Uncertainty is replaced by perfunctoriness, freshness by weariness. So it was with Sea Level at the Bayou last night.
After the Allman Brothers broke up, keyboard whiz Chuck Leavel (the band's name source) joined with ex-Washington guitarist Jimmy Nalls in holding Sea Level's leadership chores. Over the last two years, the band has added and dropped several members with multi-instrumentalist Randall Bramlett being the last meaningful addition.
The one central problem, however, is that Sea Level has no sound to really call its own. One hears laborious Allman-style jams, r'n'b roots, funk-jazz fusions-a bit of everything, yet not enough of anything. Nalls and Leavel in particular are extremely developed soloists, yet in the context of their material, it all seems a bit high on dazzle but low on razzle. Close your ears and this could just as well be a band called X.
The full house at the Bayou was patient about the brief set Sea Level offered. They demanded an encore, but demands for the unrestricted energies of that encore should have been made from the outset.