Last night, on an overcast evening in St. Helens, local alt-rock band Mosby played three sets worth of music to a small and tame but attentive audience of people attending this week’s concert as part of the 13 Days of Summer at the Columbia View Amphitheater. Those who braved the brisk winds and risk of rainfall (it did not end up raining, thankfully) were well rewarded for their bravery with a local band that manages to combine radio-friendly hooks and some excellent guitar work with some thoughtful lyrics that dealt frequently with the subject of romantic love. Not only that, they were treated to a stellar show in a beautiful amphitheater with an amazing view of the Columbia River and the boats on it. It would appear, at least from the vast majority of songs played in their sets last night, that Mosby has sought a niche for itself as rockers who combine a sense of lyrical sensitivity with deafening and powerful guitar riffs. I do not exaggerate; the sound was pretty deafening and my ears are still feeling the effects of it.
Mosby was originally conceived by lead singer Travis Williams as an acoustic solo project , as he wanted to take a departure from his previous aggressive outfit Adio Nation. From what I could hear last night, though, the band as a whole is much better for being a solid post-grunge alt-rock band than it would be as a guy with a guitar, as the lead singer’s vocals (which at times include some groovy rap-rock in the vein of Red Hot Chili Peppers) are better suited to rock than to sensitive acoustic material. Even the band’s ballads, of which there are a fair amount, like Summer Bliss and Times Like Gold, sound more substantial and weighty due to the excellent guitar work of Nick Linday, Dustin Lawrence, and Williams. The drum work of Michael Spitler was consistently excellent, giving a driving beat to the proceedings that was a consistent highlight of the roughly two and a half hour show, in which the band mixed material from its first album, “The Sound Alive,” material from its upcoming album that sounded ready for the radio (some of which could easily fit in on the Bottom 40 show for 94.7 FM here in Portland), as well as a few thoughtful covers and even a short but powerful instrumental solo piece.
This is not to say that the performance was a perfect one. Aside from the hearing damage to an audience that ranged from disabled elderly folks to a large group of wandering small children and teenagers and families with dogs, there were a few minor glitches. The band commented at least half a dozen times about needing to have the stage monitors turned up so they could hear themselves, and Williams himself had occasional pitch difficulties as a result of the disconnect between the loud sound for the audience and the lack of sound for the band themselves, that led him to wisely wander out into the amphitheater proper so that he could hear the mix better, which made for a more intimate as well as a better sounding performance. Additionally, it is clear that the Robby Takac  role of this band (the secondary singer/songwriter not nearly as good as the lead one) is filled admirably by Nick Linday, who had some good background vocals (even if his voice did not always blend well with Williams’ lead) and occasional lead vocals that were hard to distinguish among the mix.
These minor flaws aside, there really was nothing to complain about. While the crowd may not have been to the band’s liking, given that most of us were content to sit and listen attentively and clap politely as opposed to moshing and screaming that the band may have preferred, it appears that a good time was had by all. The band offered a full set, there was no cost to those of us who attended (who appear, for the most part, to have been St. Helens locals, although a few of us at least traveled from other parts of the Portland area), and the music was consistently excellent. The band made a comment about having never been to St. Helens although they had filmed their first music video in Scapoose, which is not far away . Here is hoping they come back, as they are a band that is well worth paying for, full of songs (like “Photograph” and “The Original”) that can stand up to any of their alt-rock competitors in the Pacific Northwest and far beyond.
 Robby Tacak is the guitarist and secondary lead singer of the Goo Goo Dolls, otherwise known as the guy that isn’t John Rzeznik.