Saturday July 18th I headed over to East Providence for the 2nd Annual Love Money Day, featuring Mike Baker, Mass Elite, J.T.O., J.U.D.A. Strain, hosted by Love Money on a beautiful summer afternoon. Held on a private homestead on Silver Spring Avenue, it was a quaint setting for a relaxed back yard BBQ and concert day. I arrived early with my own six pack and chocolate stocked cooler and hung out for a while, chewing the fat with some of the hosts and guests before the music started.
Mike Baker was up first, performing as Captain Space Cadet Baker & the Clones he provided a great set of acoustic grunge and progressive rock covers ranging from Fleetwood Mac to Alice in Chains, Robert Cray and Pearl Jam:
First song I had the chance to capture was “Big Love” a Fleetwood Mac cover. Not a song with which I am familiar, Mike made it his own with grunge undertones using his distinctive voice, a far cry from Fleetwood Mac songs I do know. He chose Robert Cray as his next artist to cover and broke into a medley of “Strong Persuader” and “Phonebooth.” Mike showcased a bit more delicate vocals and strum patterns. During his Pearl Jam cover I was struck by how well he sang Vedder. He then took a moment to address the crowd as he changed the tuning on his acoustic to dropped D and began a finger picking intro do a Days of the New cover. His final cover was “Nutshell” by Alice in Chains for which he invited Lee McAdams on stage to accompany him with guitar. Lee helped to add a bit more depth to the song through some soft lead segments. It was a good cover set by Mike, and I furthured my anticipation for J.U.D.A. Strain’s set.
Coming to town from Worcester, Mass Elite took to the stage next, with a trifecta of MCs Tim Caban, Mike Curci, and T. B Easy, Kenny Michaud on guitar, Mike Allain on bass, and Nate Haviland behind the kit.. Playing mostly originals with a few covers they provided an eclectic mix of hip-hop, funk and jam rock, to which the crowd got down:
“Providin’ The Vibe” was the first song I had the chance to capture and it certainly delivered on its promise. It was up -beat and catchy and had me bopping and swaying. I’m not known for my in depth knowledge of hip-hop but its certainly easier to understand and get excited with live instrumentation. They jammed out a bit towards the end and Mike Curci began beatboxing as the music’s volume slowly lowered. Heading straight into their next original, “Loser,” Mass Elite provided lyrics to which I could relate, backed by some jazzy guitar riffs. Covering The Beastie Boys next, Mass Elite broke into a hot cover of “Sabotage,” getting everyone in the crowd excited. “Gimmick Free” was a catchy rocking original hip-hop tune that came next. Introducing their newest song, I grabbed my camera again for “Jumpin’ on Clouds,” it was some positive hip-hop with a funky bass line. Another new song came next, “Cool and Collected” which had me grooving in my seat. They continued hyping the crowd with a cover of “All Mixed Up,” a 311 song. They closed their set with another original “Give it a Rest.” I was very impressed with their set and look forward to catching them play out again soon.
Jeff’s Trippin’ Out or J.T.O. was next to grace the stage, with Jeff Briere on vocals and Jim on guitar. The duo provided an interesting set of originals and re-imagined covers.
Jim provided steady blues, funk and ska riffs all set with Jeff providing the lyrics. JTO’s lyrical delivery was certainly unique, his singing like avant-garde poetry. After a quick shout out to their guitarist on hiatus in Israel, JTO played an original with a driving riff and poetic and perverse lyrics “Break Your Eggs.” Providing a break-up song next, “We are Both to Blame,” Jeff continued with his unique vocal delivery while Jim was chopping out the licks. Following with the green themed “Mother Earth has Spoken,” Jim played with a bit more of a reggae rhythm while Jeff delivered his poetry. It delivered a good message, but I had difficulty deciphering some of the lyrics. At one point they broke into a Beatles cover, providing their interpretation of “Hide Your Love Away.” Always excited to hear the Beatles, I tried to sing along during one of the choruses, but was off on their timing. Playing an original “Girl’s a Piece of Work,” Jim played what felt like a surf rock rhythm and Jeff sang a bit on this one, rather than delivering a psychedelic cadence. I didn’t catch a name for the last song from J.T.O. I captured, Jim laid out mostly bluesy riffs and Jeff sang a bit more. JTO is certainly experimental and psychedelic, I’d stand to be you’ll never bet quite sure what to expect at their performances.
As with many good festivals, Love Money Day had its own Jam Band super group of sorts that performed next. A revolving door of musicians took to the stage to form 2009′s Love Money Day Jam Band, containing members of all the performing bands at one point or another, it was a high energy jam session:
During the first open jam, Lee McAdams and Kyle Carlson of Love Money were joined on guitar by Matt Frazier, Jim of JTO was drums and rounded out by D Funn of J.U.D.A. Strain on bass. Seemingly rooted in The Allman Brothers Band’s “One Way Out,” all three guitarists impressed taking turns tearing it up. Later Mike Curci of Mass Elite joined the ad-hoc band and provided some free style to accompany the jams. Mike Baker later contributed some vocals, then Tim Caban took control of the microphone for a bit more free styling. Mike Baker, Brent Goff and Nick Anthony of J.U.D.A. Strain joined the stage as Lee shifted to bass for the second jam, spawned from Hendrix’s “Stone Free.” Kyle took a break for the next song as Jim came back to the stage manning the bass for the third jam, definitely rooted in the blues, but I was unable to nail down any one song from which it came. D Funn took control of his bass again and Matt Frazier returned to the stage replacing Nick and Lee took a break for the fourth jam, again rooted in an Allman Brothers’ song. Matt proved to be an impressive slide player, due undoubtedly to the peaches it sounds he’s eaten and a touch of albino Texas lightning. Lee came back to the stage taking Mike’s place for the final blues jam. Matt and Lee took turns blazing riffs during the blues duel to wrap up the super jam for the day. Great way to end it!
J.U.D.A. Strain took the stage next providing their brand of psychedelic grunge. Mike Baker provided lead vocals and rhythm guitar, Nick Anthony was on lead guitar, D Funn was playing bass and Brent Goff was behind the kit:
They opened their set with an original entitled “My Own Version.” Building up over a few measures it opened up to some rocking lead and driving bass and drums while Mike put passion to the vocals. Playing a Cream inspired medley they played “Sunshine of Your Love” and “Born Under a Bad Sign.” Having heard their arrangement of theses songs previously, I was impressed with their performance, and was looking forward to these interpretations. They went on to play a few more originals entitled “Story of a Guy Named Axe” and “Euphoria” before having the chance to play an Alice in Chains cover. It was another great grunge inspired jam set from J.U.D.A. Strain.
After a long day of hosting duties, Love Money took the stage as the headliner and final act. Kyle Carlson was on vocals and guitar, Lee McAdams played lead guitar, Kevin Gaspar played bass and Brent Goff stayed behind the kit, pulling double band duty
Love Money opened with a great loud, extended version of “The Sun.” Apparently the neighbors were growing weary with the the six hour rock show going on in their back yards as the police showed up during their first song. After being prompted to turn down a bit they broke into a hot version of “More Soul.” Kyle began with the rythym intro before Lee blazed in with the lead riff. Kevin bound up and down his bass neck as Brent pounded on the drums. After the final verse it was great to see Kyle take a few more lead licks before winding down the song. Performing a rocking version of “I Am” next, Lee and Kyle traded lead riffs while Kevin laid out a groovy bass line and Brent provided his steady back beat and rocking fills. “To Dream (Is to Gamble)” was next, in a slower more methodical timing then I’d previously hear performed, Lee still set his frets a fire during his extended bluesy solo, Kevin’s bass line seemed more full, and ballsy then usual. Breaking into the psychedelically blues toned “The Atheist” next, Kyle continued providing his passionate vocals. Another rocker that had a dramatic build up into bluesy jam. Covering Hendrix next, Love Money performed a spirited version of “Voodoo Child (Slight Return).” Kyle experienced some technical difficulties during the beginning guitar duo, but had a spare axe at his side. All four on stage really gave it their all for this one, rallying the crowd. They played a great version their original “Mr. Johnson” before inviting Matt Frazier on stage for what turned out to be their final number of the night “Steamline Blues” A fantastic blues instrumental I had only battery enough to capture the first third. The police had returned and at this point no reduction in volume would satiate the neighbor’s complaints.
The day was fantastic, hats off to Lee McAdams and Love Money for getting it all together. I was fortunate to be in attendance as it turned out to be one of Love Money’s final shows, since they have musically parted. Lee has gone on to form Cosmic Factory, Kyle is working on some solo material and Brent continues to drum for his original band J.U.D.A Strain.