Last night I had the pleasure of checking out the Rebirth Brass Band, a New Orleans funk/jazz/fusion brass band, for the second time. I had caught them at a Phish after-show in New York during the 2012 New Year’s run at the Gramercy Theatre. It was a bigger theatre with a balcony with seats, which came in quite handy after being at a Phish show for 3 hours and walking quite a ways to get to the theatre. Last night, they played at The Spot Underground here in Providence. The Spot is a much smaller venue, making for a much more intimate show.
I arrived at The Spot while the Background Orcs were playing their opening set on the smaller stage in the main bar area. The website called their music “infectious groove” and I can’t say I disagree. While the music was good, it wasn’t the most interesting. I wouldn’t have chosen it for an opening act. When I think an opening act, I think something to get the crowd going and excited. Their music was mellow groove-based rock/funk. At times it picked up, but remained mellow for the most part. It’s great background music, and, based on their name, maybe that’s what they’re trying to do. It was great music to sit with a beer while catching up on Twitter or chatting with some friends. It definitely got my head bobbing and toes tapping, but wasn’t enough to get me dancing. Would I see them again? Probably not if they were the headliner. They seemed young though. I suspect after getting some shows under their belts, they’ll figure out how to be more engaging.
The second band to play was actually the headliners, the Rebirth Brass Band. I haven’t been to a show where the headliners didn’t close the place down, but maybe they had to hit the road that night. They opened with a powerful “Grazing in the Grass” cover with their own spin on it. The set continued with their own take on funk, jazz, and hip hop. They kept the crowd moving throughout their nearly 2 hour set, taking only an encore break. They covered The Rolling Stones’ “It’s all over Now” as the encore. Overall, it was a great set. I was situated front center. The sound at The Spot in its new location isn’t the best and I suspect the sound where I was standing was worse. They come with a fairly hefty price tag at $24. Most shows I see in smaller venues like that are in the $10-15 range at the door. It was worth what I paid, especially since the show in NYC was $35 for what felt like a much shorter set. I’d definitely pay the money again to see them next time they come around.
In the cleanup position was The Electric Church. I had seen them once before open for Primate Fiasco, also at The Spot. We didn’t stay for their entire set, which likely went until 2:30am, but they play a rock-funk fusion. They claimed, after their first song, that they only play originals with some music ripped off from other artists. It was evident in their first song, which sounded exactly like the way Phish plays “Ya Mar” by the Mustangs. In fact, the group I was with was singing “Ya Mar” to their song. They put their own twist on the music and had their own lyrics, but it was clearly not entirely their own creation. They play a fun set, keeping everyone dancing.
All in all, it was a great night. I hadn’t seen any live music since mid-July when I saw Phish at Randall’s Island in New York. It was great to get out of the house and catch some local and national music in a great little venue. If The Spot can work out the sound issues, which I trust they can, that will be one awesome little venue for smaller acts. The two rooms is great for getting the headliner setup while the opener is still playing, cutting down time in between the acts for load out/in. My favorite part about The Spot is that just about all the draft beer is local.
So get out there. Go see live music. Go see local music. Go drink local beer.