Triple Header in Richmond( Electric Love Machine, Jazz Is Phish, Squaring The Circle
Baltimore’s, Electric Love Machine, opens up for my second Jazz is Phish performance in this JBP Triple Header. ELM has a unique vibe and sound with a lot of musical production onstage. Their songwriting is well done but their stage performance could be enhanced with less gear, or perhaps more room onstage to groove. ELM is still improvisationally vibrant, but perhaps a little heavy on the electric part for my tastes, but hey, it's in the name after all. Their new song, "Ultra-Marine" was a mix of Electro-Disco-Funk and I began to understand their sound a bit more, but only right before they finished their opening set. I will have to give ELM another chance when I can. No formal opinion made at this time.
Jazz is Phish begins with my all time favorite Phish song, "Carini. Since my first time hearing "Carini" live in Hampton at the famed Mothership, this song has stayed with me.
The steady rhythms from, Adam Chase, keep this band tight and ready to change and add improvisational elements on the spot. While his brother, Matt Chase, is a consummate guitarist and complements the rhythm section of this band perfectly. I am always impressed with the Chase brothers and the talent they seem to generate around them; always changing lineups and keeping a fresh perceptive on the arraignments and musical compositions. The band would rip into a very gospel sounding "Julius" and tight and groovy, " Gumbo" before morphing into an ecliptic jam that brought it all back around.
Jazz Is Phish is more that just a Jazz cover of Phish classics, its an all instrumental with a tinge of Jazz, Funk and every other genre mixed together to form something greater than its predecessor. This isn't as much as a cover band, as it is, an extension of the Phish cannon or catalogue. “46 Days” another favorite saw a different approach to this song. Improvising on the spot, Jazz is Phish, allows for fluid solos, transitions and changes; the band, working together as a cohesive unit with Matt calling out shots on the fly. Stand out performances included "NICU" very exploratory and reminded of Frank Zappa’s seminal album, ‘The Grand Wazoo.’ "Brother" and "Lawn Boy" were both bristling with energy and the “Stash” itself was masterful. One of the main reasons this band works so well is because the musicians are so talented. I caught “Maze” before I quickly headed over to Cary Street Cafe to see another Baltimore based band, Squaring the circle, who specilize in Jam Funk Prog-Rock. I had missed their show after MKB NYE and wanted to catch up with them while they were in Virginia.
Squaring The Circle was in full force at Cary Street Cafe, the only Grateful Dead themed bar in Richmond. I sat back and contemplated STC's sound and musical dynamics. I was instantaneously impressed with this forceful quintet, who put out a lot of sound and can round through a slew of classic and progressive rock covers including, but not limited to: Frank Zappa, Rush, Steve Kimock, The Grateful Dead and John Scofield. Before performing a special Zappa medley just for me, the band played some original music that I found highly progressive and creative. I picked up one of their free CDs with an eclectic mix of covers and would love to hear a full album of all originals. The Zappa medley was appropriated from The Mothers Fillmore East 71 Live album, which included; “Little House,” “Mud Shark,” “Latex Solar Beef,” and “Willy The Pimp.” STC’s would add a delightful “Pygmy Twylyte” that was totally on point that I couldn’t help but sing along. None of Frank Zappa’s music is easy to play, and Squaring The Circle did an excellent job, not only covering, but exploring these sonic masterpieces and raveling them together to form an outstanding medley. STC would go onto to Cover Soulive’s "Right On" with a sit in sax player but I was still reeling from those Zappa tunes. It is always a pleasure to hear Zappa played live and when it’s well done, even better. I look forward to catching Squaring The Circle as they grow and evolve in this music scene. Keep it improvisational.
Jam Band Purist
Photos from Ron AdelBerg Photography
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Editor: Robert (R.A.) Fadley
Freelance Writer, Musicologist, Music Journalist, Music Critic, Music Writer, Author, Musician, Singer-songwriter, Composer, Guitarist.