On Saturday, September 25, the bus stopped in Providence, RI at The Spot Underground. To celebrate, The Spot had a planned mini festival outside. Unfortunately, likely rain showers forced them to move artists and other vendors indoors and the acoustic performers they had planned were nowhere to be found. That didn’t stop the people from coming by for the main event, a triple bill of Formula 5, The Jauntee, and Tauk. The three bands each played a set on the main stage with Cosmal playing a short set in between as the bands switched up equipment.
The night before Thanksgiving, I went to Lupo’s in Providence to see everyone’s favorite local jamband, Max Creek. They have one of the strongest followings of any band, especially when it comes to smaller, local acts. They’re also known for putting on a great show, and rarely play what one would call a bad show. So the night before Thanksgiving had to be a great one.
Providence-based Fungus Amungus opened for them. The crowd was pretty small at this point, consisting of what seemed to be mainly friends of the band. They’re more of a funk style band with shorter jams. While a solid act in and of themselves, they seemed to be a bit more inexperienced (which could be because they’re quite a bit younger). I enjoyed what I heard from them, but it wasn’t anything overly special. The one song they really did well was Pink Floyd’s “Shine on You Crazy Diamond”. I was quite impressed by that. Scott Murawski from Creek came out to join them on stage for a song or 2. He basically stood way off to the side and back of the stage, though. What could have been a great moment of collaboration, I think he held off on his talent and allowed Fungus to take the lead. In fact, I couldn’t really even hear his playing. I’ve seen him collaborate with others before and he’s done a great job playing off of them and vice versa, but in this case, he just stood there playing. My guess is that it’s because of the inexperience of the other group in their ability to really jam and improvise off someone else, likely who they’ve never really played with before.
Creek went on later. while the crowd grew in size, it still wasn’t a large crowd, and certainly not a sell out for Lupo’s. Now, I’m not one who is overly familiar with Creek’s catalog. I’ve seen them a few times, but that’s really it. So you’ll have to bear with my review.
They started out slow and seemed to have a hard time finding their groove. This lasted through much of the first set, though it did have its highlights (for me that was “Six Days on the Road” as the only song I knew/recognized). The second set saw things pick up quite a bit more. It started with a few covers, many of which I recognized. They ended the set with some originals, but since they had found their groove, they nailed it. You could tell as the night got later, they were having more fun, especially when midnight rolled around and it was officially Thanksgiving.
All-in-all, I had a great time. I decided after that show that I’m gonna try to never miss a Creek show in Providence as long as I can help it. They’re really worth seeing whenever you get the chance. I’ve had a blast at each one I’ve been to, and because they have such loyal fans, it’s like a big family (similar to Phish in many ways).
While they are not local to RI, they are sorta local. The McLovins, a young band from Hartford, have arrived on the scene (a big thank you to the Magic Hat blog for introducing me to them). They’re a jam/funk/jazz/fusion band. I know what you’re thinking… those types of bands are a dime a dozen. Well, this one’s worth a dozen dimes (maybe even more).
They have a bunch of videos up on YouTube, including some Phish covers, a Grateful Dead cover, a bunch of other covers, and a bunch of originals. Here’s an original called “Purple Trees”:
I have no idea how old these kids are, but they can’t be out of high school yet. I wouldn’t put them older than 14 or 15. They’re very talented musicians. If they work on their song writing skills a bit, they can be a serious player in the local and regional circuit, along the lines of The Breakfast. These kids can jam. The only thing I’d love to see is filling out their sound with a keyboardist, though it’s not necessary. They give their Phish covers a nice personal touch, while keeping with the spirit of the music. Here’s “Harry Hood” as an example:
If you get the chance to check them out live, or have seen them live, please post a review in the comments (or link to it). I’d love to hear how they are live (aside from watching their videos on YouTube). And if you know the band, please tell them to come play Providence (not some bar in South County, like Ocean Mist). We’ve got a large jamband fan population here.
One of my former student employees told me his band, Capitol Hill (you didn’t think I was talking politics, did you?), was going to be playing at The Living Room last night. I decided to check it out since I had been meaning to see them a few times. They’re a hip hop act with a live band. There are 2 vocalists/rappers (they’re the ones who used to work for me) and a 4 piece band (drum, sax, guitar, bass). I was impressed. They played a mix of originals and covers, and some of the covers were just samples from songs. They played 5 or 6 songs during their short 45 minute set, but they had the small crowd, which was mainly there to see the second band, on their feet and groovin’.
Shoeless Jeff and Scott Free, the 2 rappers, are actually making an album of educational songs for children. You can check that project out at The Smart Songs. The album should be released in July and will be sold through Highlights magazine.
Following their set at The Living Room, we headed to Tazza Caffe to check out The Press Project, a similar hip hop/soul/funk/R&B group from Boston. I was pretty impressed with them. They had Tazza movin’ and groovin’. Their songs were a little smoother and more groove oriented than Capitol Hill. Opening for them was Iveoka, who has a beautiful voice, singing soul and R&B. They’re playing next Friday at the Milky Way in Jamaica Plain.
I went to Tazza Caffe last night to check out a blues band whose members include a Nikki’s regular. Unfortunately, I can’t recall the name of the band. Anyway, Tazza has changed their beer selection quite a bit. The last time I was there, probably last summer, the best thing on their beer menu was Sierra Nevada Pale Ale or Sam Adams Boston Lager. They now have Dogfish Head 90 Min. IPA, Ommegang Rare Vos, Samuel Smith Taddy Porter, Smuttynose Old Brown Dog, and a couple others I can’t remember. I was quite impressed, though they obviously didn’t inform any of their staff about the beer or proper glassware or even that it shouldn’t be consumed from the bottle period. In fact, when I changed my beer from the Ommegang to the 90 Min, I was just given the bottle. So I rinsed my glass with the water that was on the table and used the same glass (a regular pint glass).
The band was really good playing a mix of some covers and some originals. They were funny at times with some banter and one of their songs was hilarious. It was a great night out. They’re playing Tazza again next Tuesday with some others. They’ll be doing an acoustic set.
I decided to give a free plug for a friend and former student employee and his band, The Ringer Soundtrack. They’re playing the Living Room in Providence on Tuesday, January 22. Show starts at 7.
What: The Ringer Soundtrack w/ The Coming Weak, Talk of the Town, and A Kidnap in Color
Where: The Living Room, 23 Rathbone St., Providence, RI
When: 7:00 pm
The Wrong Reasons are a band from Providence. Anyone who knows me knows that I have a very eclectic taste in music. It generally stays around the jam band scene, but I’m also a big fan of folky music, which naturally expands to bluegrass, slamgrass, rockabilly, country rock, alt-country, and alt-folk. I like most rock music and the Wrong Reasons rock. In short, the albums moves from some twang to rockabilly to folk to rock to garage band music. It reminds me a lot of the Violent Femmes. Providence has a very punk-ish gritty vibe. This album fits that notion of Providence quite well. I don’t know how the alt-country/twang scene got so big here being in southern New England where country types of music just aren’t that big except in the more remote regions, but it’s big in Providence.
Since I just got the album today, I can’t really say much about each individual track. If you like the Femmes, if you like alt-country, if you like twangy garage rock, this album is for you. The album is available at CD Baby (apparently, it’s temporarily out of stock, that’s how popular it is). None of the proceeds go to large corporations, there’s no copy protection, no DRM, it’s just a clean CD where the money goes to the band (and probably some to CD Baby for distribution). Buy this album today. You’ll like it. I promise.