Remember fusion? It's back.
Phish, an egghead rock quartet from Vermont that has tapped into American youth's resurgent hippie vibe, headlined the first of two shows at the Palace on Wednesday and jammed the night away. The band induced impressionistic dancing to undanceable jazzy shuffles, and no doubt blew a few altered minds with their tight and technically resourceful interplay.
Phish is often linked to Blues Traveler and the Spin Doctors, two other young bands that have drawn cult-like followings. The phenomenon has been likened to the bond that Deadheads feel for the Grateful Dead, and the Palace show did occasionally seem like a flashback to the Fillmore West, an island of benign communalism with an endless guitar soundtrack.
Unlike many of its '60s-era forebears, Phish is more boring live than on record, where the focus is on their overly clever but occasionally interesting songs. Free to indulge their chops on stage, the musicians offered impressive technique without soul, substance, charm or challenge.
Phish also appears tonight at the University of Redlands' Greek Amphitheatre and Sunday at the Ventura Theatre in Ventura.