What is it about Blues Traveler, a young New York-based quartet, that kept an even younger tie-dyed audience dancing deliriously at the Bayou Sunday night? Well, for one thing, the band apparently never met a song it couldn't turn into a seemingly endless party jam.
In fact, if you were to imagine a cross between the Grateful Dead and Canned Heat, you'd have a pretty good idea of the band's strategy. Like the Dead, Traveler has a knack for sustaining a rhythmic groove in concert to the point that all the songs, both originals and covers, eventually begin to blur into one big, revolving soundtrack. Every now and then a familiar chorus would pop up and remind you that the band really hadn't moved on to something else.
And as with Canned Heat, the harmonica is key to the band's earthy appeal. But John Popper played it with such velocity that he seldom bent a note, and the rest of the group preferred psychedelic guitar washes and sharply syncopated rhythms over the usual boogie patterns -- not so sharply syncopated, though, that the band was ever in danger of alienating the bobbing crowd on the dance floor.