The influence of the Band can sometimes get lost because the members of the mostly Canadian group were low-key. There was no real frontman. Even the name of the group was self-effacing.
The main songwriter, Robbie Robertson, picked up some tunesmith mojo by working with Bob Dylan, and Robertson also had the good fortune to have a walking, talking, singing and drumming piece of Americana as a bandmate in the person of Levon Helm. So Robertson could harvest legitimate nuggets of Arkansas country-soul gold from Helm. Having the talents of sweet-voiced Rick Danko, Richard Manuel and Garth Hudson only added to the Band’s shape-shifting skills.
They were a group that was as at home in honky-tonks as they were playing off-the-cuff behind Dylan on the world’s biggest stages during his divisive freshly electric phase. Listen to artists like Elton John and Thin Lizzy and one can hear the way the Band’s sense of American history, character, narrative, agrarian idylls and biblical imagery all shaped much of the rock that came out of England and Ireland in the ‘70s. Their use of accordion, horns and strings were influential as well. The Band’s songs — like “The Weight,” “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down,” and “Up On Cripple Creek” — became classics. The wave of folk-pop and Americana in the 21st century, with artists like the Avett Brothers and Mumford & Sons, is directly related to the legacy of the Band.
The Weight Band is a tribute band that taps into that legacy, celebrating the music of the Band and its unique multivoiced, multi-instrumentalist warmth.
See The Weight Band at Infinity Hall, 2 Front St., Hartford, on Friday, Feb. 16, at 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $39 to $59. 866-666-6306 and infinityhall.com.