April 10th, Friday night, time to shake my bones again. Anyone else sick of the amount of rain we’ve gotten this spring? It was a cats and dogs kind of night, m’lady was out of town and my brother had plans elsewhere so I headed out to Providence by my lonesome for a marathon run of bands in a single night. First off I arrived to Club Hell around 8:30pm a bit late to see the start of Forgetful Jones.
Unbeknown to me at Club Hell “Doors at 8pm” means bands start at 8:01, not the first frustrating experiance of the night. Despite my late arrival I was on time to catch the final two songs from the first band visiting from Boston for the night. They were certainly heavier than I would normally seek, and very polished compared to other hard rock acts I’ve seen, lyrics were sung, not screamed, and astoundingly up-beat for harder rock. Their space declares they play rock, funk and fusion, I must have been present for their heavier rock handed ending. I was impressed with their energy and heart in a pretty empty room, Kenyatta Savage was moving around, singing powerfully and making his stage presence known. Jon Holland’s guitar solos were precise and melodic, doing a great job of pulling out of a solo back to rhythm. Matt Athanasiou provided some great fills on the kit and Niles Tooher’s fleet fingers made the floor rumble on bass. After their set I was pleasantly surprised they were going to be playing the Northeastern Quad this Tuesday, I always loved catching the bands on the Quad between classes.
I checked with Baylock to see when their set began, with 15 minutes to spare, I went upstairs to Jerky’s. Taking care of my cover charge and securing a bracelet, I confirmed it was ok to go between both Hell and Jerky’s as long as you’ve covered both doors and been IDed both places. There was more of a crowd at Jerky’s (almost to be expected as its native position as a live music venue), I grabbed a beer and saught conversation. There was a cat sitting by the merch table on a laptop, he looked kinda busy but I figured he worked the club and would know when the music would start. Donno explained that he was going to be performing later but the first act would be on at 10pm. After learning I had an hour before the first opener, and distracting poor Donno while he was working on his set-list, I chugged my Guinness and returned to Hell.
Having recently reviewed a full set from Baylock, with six more sets to cover before I go to bed tonight we’ll go light. They played many staple Baylock classics, a similar set to their Rockhunt set from April 4th, they exchanged “Patience” for the newer “Naked Again” one of their heavier numbers, fully electric, I believe it to be penned by Tim Crowley. Over the course of the set they were defiantly taking longer musical interludes than they usually do, specifically I remember Tim’s solos during “Gone for Good” were more experimental and full, making use of more notes seemingly.
Returning to Jerky’s for 10:00 on the dot, I proceeded to experience more what what I had originally expected at Club Hell, 10pm was Rotary Trio‘s start time, but they didn’t get started until 10:15. They opened their set with “Aggression,” (I think, referring to Myspace as a reference for song titles) starting it out with, at least a three minute, hot trippy bluesy instrumental. I was hooked, I love the blues almost as much as I like to folk! (See what I did there?) They certainly had a lot of sound for a three piece band, and Brian Mahoney is a good young blues guitarist, his vocals more clear and powerful than other tracks from him I’ve heard. Critics have said, “Well someone really has to be older, and have been through a lot in their life to be a good blues artist”. Experience, not age make the blues genuine, and I’ll vouch for Brian’s experiences. Impressed, but pressed for time I regretfully made my retreat to Club Hell to catch a bit of Street Credit‘s set.
I’d first like to take this opportunity to thank Club Hell for recently adjusting their paradigm to offer more live shows, of a wider variety, before and in lieu of their normal heavy metal/dance club scene, in the wake of the slew of live music venue closings in Providence in recent years. That being said, I was a little perturbed to say the least, when returning to Hell just in time to witness them ask Street Credit to cut their set short. Live music was sceduled to run until 11pm, when the DJ and dance scene would take over, while I understand that their club crowd was beginning to arrive early, they were paying the cover charge required and buying drinks. While certainly not what they headed out to see, some were enjoying the Reggae/Ska styling of Street Credit, with the regular crowd coming in, and revenues still flowing, I just did not understand the logic in asking the band to cut it 15 minutes short. I’m so glad I got back in time to catch the last two and a half songs as they were great! Good musicians, lead singer Jon Mulshenock seemed pissed, they all kicked it up a notch. Jon’s presance got a buff and he was all over the place, standing on monitors, out around the audience, prompting much more involvement from the audience. To me the seemed a cross between Sublime and The Mighty Might Bostones, and they were out to make Hell realize their mistake. I recognized their closer as “Back for More” from the research I’d done on Myspace (that I always try to do before seeing a band with which I’m unfamiliar), they killed it.
After thanking the guys in Street Credit, Baylock and Forgetful Jones for their efforts, I returned to Jerky’s for the remainder of Rotary Trio’s set. I caught the tail end of their third to last song, grabbed a Guinness and settled in to enjoy the last few songs. Casey Martin sang lead vocals on “Three Tabs,” it has to be really difficult to keep up a good back beat while singing and he did a hell of a job, between verses concentrating on some busy fills. Rob Preite was testing his limits on bass and was laying out good grooves. His playing seemed note for note and a little timid at points (nothing that more friends cheering him on at gigs couldn’t help). They closed with “Still Waiting,” a track recently added to their space. Brian Mahoney took back lead vocals for this one, each member impressed me with their improvisation during musical interlude verse breaks and they wound down their set to an appreciative crowd. Great at parts, it was evident they are a newer musical venture, showing great potential and even significantly cleaner than some early live cuts I’d heard. Overall a very good set, and I look forward to seeing them perform out more, to witness them hone their craft and become a staple in The local Jam/Blues Scene.
As Rotary Trio was packing up, in my, generally too friendly (according to m’lady, brother and best friend) fashion, I decided to strike up a conversation with another dude with long hair standing by himself, he confirmed my suspicions and I defiantly had time to head out for a smoke break before The Muve‘s set. The awning was crowded so I made a dash through the monsoon towards my car, thinking I’d be better off. Walked past Stewie the Rappin’ Pizza guy and started chatting him up as he was trying to sell me a pizza, (good idea Sully, start talking to a guy who can talk circles around you in a downpour) promised him I’d need a pizza later, and on I went. Eventually I made it to my car, significantly wetter than intended and proceeded to roll a butt. After the rain had let up, and I watched water dripping through my car roof I decided I’d stroll back to the club and enjoy. I arrived back for the wrapping up of the sound check, as I made my way to the bar noticed my fellow long haired cohort and started another conversation. The Muve gave the signal and started their set. They wasted no time in impressing, by the fourth measure the whole crowd was shaking their hips. The keyboard solo to start the set was ridiculous, it reminded me of Dr. John or Page McConnell. Having to get closer to the stage to check this shit out, I formerly introduced myself to my cohort for the evening, Zach, and moved closer to the stage. Once I was down front, I noticed it was that cat Donno I had been chatting up earlier, tickling the ivories. Donno passed solo control to the left most guitarist, who took over for a nice long melodic solo. They passed solo attention back and forth a few more times, it was a great fast paced dance-y number I couldn’t help but tap my feet and shake my ass. The second song began (or a different segment) and the bassist was the standout here at least for me. His bass lines were, heart pounding up and down the neck the entire time. I don’t recall off hand, but I’m guessing he’s playing a 5-string bass, there were a lot of notes coming out of that thing! It was quite a while into the set before I remember lyrics, I’m not familiar with their work, it could have been the third song, or third segment before the lyrics came in on a reggae number (there is definitely a lot of reggae and reggae tones around the local scene lately). The singing and lyrics good all night, most impressive was the harmonizing during different songs, it seems the focus mostly on improv, and getting the crowd bouncing. At points I was reminded of Umphrey’s with their aggressive tone changes, with all transitions flawless. They were very tight all night, passing solos around, or changing grooves, they were seamless. Very good set, I hope to catch them out again soon.
I was going between the dance floor and the bar the whole set, jiving with Zach about what was impressing us, and invited him for a butt break between sets. Walking around the block again, I foolishly thought a pizza from Stewie was a good idea at this point, grabbed a slice and tossed it into my car. Talking with Zach for a while I came to find out he was a guitarist as well in a few local acts, and let me know of his gigs the following night (Overly Friendly Sully: 1, Friends I Embarrass: 0). We headed back up to Jerky’s and got prepped for the show. The eagerly anticipative crowd was still riled up from Rotary Trio and The Muve, when The Attic began their CD release party. They hit the ground running with an ass shaking funk jam, the whole crowd again erupted in dance as they sang “We Don’t Know Shit” (guessing at the title) as it wound down the Fender guitarist began an shred for a bit. They next broke into a harmonious melodious rhythm next reminiscent of the Allman Brothers for me. The whole set the moved between rocky, reggae, funky and jammy tunes. At one point even playing a country bluesy number, proving a band with many genres up their sleeve. The Attic seemed meticulous at non-verbal communication, signaling tempo or song changes with a glance or raise of the eyebrow, the signs of any truly road seasoned band. At one point they did a fantastic cover of “Lake of Fire” similar, but different than Nirvana’s version. Evident through familiarity and participation the majority of the crowd was there for The Attic, I even grabbed a free 3 song EP, good stuff. They did a great job of exercising three part harmonies on their last song, “your Time Has Come and Gone” (guessing at title again). Some points in their set it was difficult to decipher lyrics, I was unable to tell if the gain on the mic needed to be increased or just the output of the speakers. It was a crazy night of bouncing all around, and I was exhausted by the end, but well worth it. I would be excited to see any of the six bands I caught again when they were around, and you should be too!