The Michael Fath Band certainly has faith in Fath. After all, the group is named after him and there were at least five instrumentals during its show Tuesday night at the Bayou that showcased his abilities as a lead guitarist.
Not that there was a weak link musically in the local five-man band. Dave Crigger's bass lines were unusual in that they were both percussive and melodic, and his solos employed harmonics and chord-strumming, not an easy task on a thick-stringed instrument. Lead singer Rob Carroll's voice was textbook heavy metal: a tenor range with a lot of vibrato. His brother Jimmy provided adequate thumping on his double-bass drum set, and keyboardist Leo Gratz filled out the sound with his unobtrusive synthesizers.
Fath, though, is the focal point. His style combined the techniques of many of today's premier rock guitarists. Like the late Randy Rhodes, he used the length of the guitar neck during his solos, instead of frenetically playing the higher frets for the sake of speed. Fath also used the guitar neck to pick and push the strings in piano-playing fashion a` la Stanley Jordan and Eddie Van Halen.
The only problem was with the group's original compositions. Although the band no doubt has the ability to transcend the local circuit, its efforts on its own songs seemed to be mere vehicles for solos. With the exception of "Fall From Grace," which at least had a memorable chorus, much of the tunes' appeal seems to be reserved for guitarists or other musicians.