On an overcast and humid Thursday afternoon, local band Analog Heart took to the Fountain Stage at the Outside the Box festival and gradually drew a crowd with their driving, and sometimes danceable, sound. Led by singer and keyboardist Liz Bills, decked out in summery sunglasses, they began playing to a thin crowd of spectators on the Boston Common. By the end of their 50-minute set, however, they had gathered a much larger audience, who enjoyed their harmony-rich, Foo Fighters-esque tunes.
Featuring a new drummer and bassist, Analog Heart was in a good position as the 2:30 p.m. act; the skies had just cleared over the Boston Common. Grateful to be out of the rain, the band stayed tightly focused on the music throughout. Bills switched every so often from tambourine to keyboard, as she sang lead vocals alongside the guitarist, who harmonized during the main hooks.
Halfway through the set, Bills asked, “Anybody in the audience like Led Zeppelin?” to some excited applause. While one might have expected “Whole Lotta Love” or a similar up-tempo cover to come next, the band instead slowed things down with a sensitive cover of “Going to California.” Arranged to showcase the upper range of Bills’ voice and accompanied only by fingerpicked electric guitar, it was an excellent cut in a set of otherwise untamed rock and roll.
As the sun came out later in their set, the band got back to rocking hard, singing several defiant anthems to lovers who changed their ways and don’t deserve their love anymore. Bills directed attention to one dancing gentleman just below the stage who was moving energetically to the music. Encouraged, several other audience members began to dance a little as the music continued.
For the last song, “Merrimack Jane,” Bills donned a sun hat, only to discard it halfway through. As the lower range in her voice was explored, the band stayed tightly in time and finished strong. Departing with much love directed to all in attendance, Analog Heart left the stage having successfully soundtracked a summer afternoon on the Boston Common.