Bustling country-rock band Sweet Spirit throw one hell of a party onstage | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

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Bustling country-rock band Sweet Spirit throw one hell of a party onstage

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Nine performers is a lot of band, and on their recordings Austin country-rock outfit Sweet Spirit can sound a bit clotted and ragged, like nobody’s quite clear where all the members go. Live, though, they throw one hell of a party. Lead singer Sabrina Ellis in particular has a riveting, no-fucks-given charisma that comes across best onstage. With a nasal edge that moves up into an almost shriek, her voice adds a threatening vibe to the band’s feel-good groove and authoritative aggression to lines like “Right hand on my heart / I swear I’ll knock you out.” The band’s new album, St. Mojo (Nine Mile Records), comes out the day of this show, and single “The Power,” which they’ve already played extensively in concert, is one of their best tracks to date. Over a sludgy, sweaty, grinding riff, Ellis talk-sings and wails through four minutes of rock innuendo: “I stood up on my chair to get tall, tall / I didn’t have any panties on under my graduation robes / And I made eye contact with every single person in the room.” And when she rears back and lets loose a towering Grace Slick-worthy “I’ve got the poooowwwerrrr!,” you believe her.   v

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