WISE Hall, August 13th, 2016
On a summer night lingering under sunshine glow, sunset dreams can turn into magic when bands take the stage.
Saturday night was no exception to this – a totally fun night of music that left everyone smiling and tingling after a perfect lineup of bands fell into place naturally.
Aided with room-warming Taurus bass pedals, Koltek’s guitar figures ranged from melodic splendor to staccato rage before diving back into ambient wash while bracing for compelling new riffs that followed.
Meanwhile across the stage, Charrette’s radiant Cheshire cat grin simply drew the audience further into the music as his arms rambled around the drums, coaxing syncopated grooves and dynamic pulses out of a modest kit.
Together the pair opened the evening’s music with a surprising array of flare, fun and melodic intensity. Their natural ease with having fun on stage sparked up the summer tone inside the WISE just right.
Next, Parrenthesses unleashed their denser, long-form conceptual music. A perfect contrast to BMWG and yet stemming from the same Power Duo headwaters. Performed with a deceptively casual nonchalance, the music of Parrenthesses grew and grew in intensity.
Fans of ambidexterity get their money’s worth witnessing drummer Levi Bakker playing complex piano runs with right hand, while drumming left handed across a full drum kit. Needs to be seen to be fully appreciated because he sounds like two different people playing two different parts … while also singing, no less.
Which in no way diminishes guitarist Elliott Vernon’s masterful fret and pedal prowess as he shifted moods and tones with clockwork precision. His overflowing passion driving home the final narrative of spirituality vs. identity, which hauntingly hung there in the room like a dream.
Their music deserves repeated listening because the sum total of the songs add up to something quite moving and is well worth seeking out.
And just when the summer night seemed headed off into something darker, more serious and more Progressive in nature ~along came The Rash For Life.
The Rash For Life are fun and entertaining, they’re real and they’re fabulous. Smiles crept across dancing faces one and all, each happily succumbing to The Rash’s irresistible onslaught on all things proper and calm.
Benson Musaev knows a thing or two about proper and calm but willfully chooses to eschew both in the name of knocking decency flat on its ass. Bass can decently hold the band together, or can indecently lead, which is what Musaev does with wild abandon and gleeful aplomb.
No riff is sacred – as it should be when there is this much fun to be had.
And fun naturally beckons Anthony Charrette to join in with his more primal drumming for this band (Spoiler Alert: a Gong is abused).
Which does not mean fun rules out sensitive balladry from a sensitive lead singer. Or maybe it does. You decide when you attend their next gig.
Because singer Patt Skuce reveals all and emotes all things shoutable, while wearing a large mirrorball on his head. A mirroball helmet complete with LEDs on the inside.
Skuce best answers the question: what if Hank Williams Jr. invented rap and fronted The Beastie Boys?
Just go see them at their next gig. You will have fun. You will smile and dance. Music is suppose to be this much fun.
If you have never experienced a live baritone sax section, do yourself a favor and check out the one-two punch of Scott Bristow and Al Norine as they give riffing guitars a run for their money. Together, their interwoven horn arrangements hearken back to the fine soulful pulse found in late ’60s R&B bands.
It’s then up to guitarists Michael Celli and Elliott Vernon to notch out a different set of sounds and comping riffs – which they tidily do while ratcheting up the groove.
Underpinning all: the grounded, bouncing bottom-end lines from bassist Jeremy Evers, punctuated by brisk beats courtesy of Levi Bakker.
Surfing over all this glorious, infectious sound is ring leader/lead singer Joseph Musters and harmony heroine Kimberleigh Roseblade. Partners in crime leaving no audience members untouched by their energy and joy.
(Missing from this performance was oboist Lisa Jensen.)
If fun and dancing be the food of life, seek out any or all of these bands – or follow them online. Go to their next gigs. You will come away satisfied and happy* and, especially for The Rash for Life or The Food, you will have danced your ass off.
*Inexplicably as happy as you feel on a perfect summer night.