Friday May 8th was a show I was anticipating for a while, Funkatronic and The Muve, both of whom I’d seen recently and thoroughly enjoyed, were playing, along with a folky singer songstress I’d yet to see Chrisy Gavin. Deciding it was much too good a show to attend alone I assaulted my brother as he game home from work, flustered from traffic, it seemed like a loosing battle until I reminded him Funkatronic was playing, knowing full well he wouldn’t pass them up after missing their Wheelhouse show. Tim came along the last time I saw them play AS220, and had mentioned wanting to see them again. Knowing full well he wouldn’t pass them up after missing their Wheelhouse show. If you have not been to AS220 before, make sure you get there plenty early, I’ve recently developed an insatiable addictions to Taqueria Pacifica’s burritos, filling, inexpensive and delicious they are only served until 9:30pm (around the start of the music) inside the bar. Tim and I played a mini version of “OMG Street Spot,” he won again, pointing out a free street spot just as I’d given up and pulled into a pay lot. I quickly made my way back out of the lot and pulled what Nicole calls “The Rhode Island,” inching across one half of a two lane road while no cars are coming from the left, to make DAMN SURE the oncoming traffic from the right sees you trying to cross the street into the parking spot you are telepathically claiming. Tim and I made our way down to the venue, May 7th had been what I’ve heard referred to as “Drop Out Night,” the first spring night that Providence patio liquor licenses activate and venues that have decks and patios can allow alcohol outside, so every sidewalk table was packed as we approached. Tim and I ordered pints and toasted to making it through a brutal Rhode Island winter, and the turn of weather from the recent deluge. Heading into the live music half of AS220 we spotted our cousin Katie, who’d reserved us some seats at her front row table, and made conversation as Funkatronic was sound checking. I duped Tim into watching our things as Katie needed another Pinot and I had a burrito hankering, we made our way back to the bar half of AS220.
Katie chatted as I scarfed the heavenly creation wrapped in tin foil, muttering my input between breaths and mouthfuls of chicken, rice and beans. After eating as much of my burrito as I saw fit, Katie and I made our way out for a smoke break before Chrisy Gavin would take the stage. I recognized Phil Adams of The Choos outside and struck up a conversation, neglecting to remember he is also a member of The Muve, as their guitarist. As we talked we happened to spot Joe Jannerelli (of Gravity Works and Fungus Amungus, who I ran into almost every night this week) and Rob (“Red,” works with Fungus), they joined the conversation as well. We talked about the local scene, what was happening at AS220 that night, and the crazy amount of shows I’d been attending. Joe seemed to perk up a bit when I mentioned I’d seen Writers in the Round that week. I mentioned it was my first time for the round, and enjoyed it immensely, seemed everyone had known about it for quite some time other than myself, they knew Chris, Kris and Nicky P played, calling them the Usual Suspects. We talked about the songwriters and Daniel Chase, apparently a new addition to the Round, Joe confirmed I liked Nicky P’s songs on the evening before mentioning they were close friends and fish together quite frequently in the summer. As I heard acoustic tones start inside, Joe and Red started toward their destination, and realized Tim had been stranded for a while Katie and I returned inside for Chrisy’s set.
She was wrapping up a tender song as I entered the venue portion of AS220, after which she had a bit of a heart to heart with the audience about some rough times she’d had recently and returning to Rhode Island from Texas. I happened to catch her next song on video, “Congratulations:”
05.08.09 Chrisy Gavin “Congratulations”
Soft spoken while addressing the crowd, she seemed to open up from behind the guitar. A seemingly sarcastic song to congratulate someone on breaking her heart. It was full of good strum rhythm, quick chord changes and deep heartfelt vocals. Chrisy next played a piece called “Not Happy,” she sang with more delicate soulful vocals on this one, more closely resembling her persona while addressing the crowd. I remember thinking it was a well written song with good lyrics, but don’t have many more notes about it. The next song she played seemed a bit newer, more unrefined:
05.08.09 Chrisy Gavin original song 2
It was during this song I noticed my brother had gone missing, after she finished the song perhaps titled “Out of my Mind,” I went in search of the younger Sullivan. I arrived back in the bar section, to find him the sole surviver at the Taqueria counter, and saw him accost the poor guy cleaning the grill. Trying so hard to ignore his inebriated patron and finish his night it wasn’t until the third or fourth “HeY Buddy” that he turned around. As I approached I heard Tim mutter “Dude that burrito was the bomb, THANKS!” I chuckled a bit and handed Tim another brew while dragging him back to the music portion of the bar. Chrisy performed one more song once we returned, her whole set she played and sang more powerfully than she spoke, perhaps a little timid on stage, but her songs were full of emotion and heart. I enjoyed her set and would see her play out again, she defiantly brought her own friend/fan contingent who were excited to see her back in the state, as well as perform. Funkatronic was the next to the stage, and after a few minutes of fine tuning the sound, they were off performing their addictive jazz funk. Paul Caraher was on guitar and keys, Justin Caraher manned the kit, while Low B laid out the bass grooves. All three musicians were at their finest on the night, building off of each other and the crowd for some hip swaying funk. They played the following song early in the set, Paul’s vocals stronger than their recent Wheelhouse show:
05.08.09 Funkatronic original song 4
I loved how the guitar and bass riffs seemed to meld together. Tim said it best when he said “They really know how to build up a song to get you invested.” The next number was a great example of this as it started mellow with some synth work, Low B was to follow picking up the bass groove. They followed this pattern another time but on the return to Paul, he slung his guitar back around this time and played some quick riffs. The whole song Justin was tapping out his crazy fills and poly-beats:
05.08.09 Funkatronic original song 1
As they chatted and thanked the audience, and made my way back to the table. Paul started to introduce the next song as one of Justin’s compositions, I suspected it may have some crazy intricate drumming, and I’d better break out the digital camera again. As I tore it from my pocket and started to record I leaped from my seat, knocking over my drink. Taking a quick glance at the table I noticed my cousin’s, much nicer than my, camera and saved it from liquidy doom, asking Tim to “Hold This.” Knowing full well anything of value was now safe from my recent bout of klutziness, and that getting some good video of the next song would be key, I waited before returning to the bar for a rag to clean the mess:
05.08.09 Funkatronic original song 2
(So apparently typing about being klutzy generates further klutziness, as I took a quick break from typing to get a coffee in the kitchen, I happened to knock a mug from the cupboard and watch it fall, slow motion, to a shattery death at my bare feet.) This song started out a bit more “atronic” than funk, using a recorded loop to begin the song, and continue in the background for the duration. The song as a whole was very intricate with well timed guitar riffs and bass grooves in time with the track. Justin started in tapping everything in his kit with his incredible timing and use of negative space it was great solo utilizing much more finesse than power. I quickly applauded whilst making haste to bar for a rag. Seemingly understaffed, the bartender was bagging up her own garbage and had a moment to toss me a rag, but had to get the bag out the back before she could make a drink. I returned to the show portion and began to wipe down the table and floor of my spill. Now brandishing a sopping wet bar rag with a hint of whiskey I made my way back to the bar, only to find a crowd had gathered in wait for beverages. One older gentleman took it upon himself to start walking behind the bar towards a cooler, I was about to say something to him when the bartender returned. To my relief she jestingly scolded him and assured him he would be the first served. He must be a regular. I grabbed a replacement Knob and Coke and scurried back to the show. Once seated Katie gave me an inquisitive look and asked “Where’s my Camera?” Tim, laughing hysterically handed it over, tried to describe what happened but couldn’t stop laughing and pointing at me. I explained the happenings during her wait for the ladies room, and declared “Hey, I still got the song recorded!” Kate joined my brother in laughter at my expense as I frumped and swigged my drink. The sound engineer caught the band’s attention letting them know they had time to play one more before handing the stage over to The Muve. Funkatronic broke into a newer piece as I broke out my Nikon, aptly called “Porno Funk:”
05.08.09 Funkatronic original song 3
Great tune to play leaving the stage, it had most of the crowd out of their seats shaking their hips, wanting more. Grabbing Kate I went out for a butt while Funkatronic cleaned their gear and The Muve started to configure theirs. Consisting of Phil Adams on lead guitar, Donno Ruggeri on keyboard, Jay Anthony on rhthym guitar, Rob Anthony on bass guitar, and Jay Harley on drums. The Muve are an exciting band to see play live. Phil and Donno provided lead vocals, each singing certain songs, and both harmonizing perfectly when a song calls for it. Most of the crowd had gathered for the Muve, and were on their feet ready for a dancey night. Right out of the gate Phil was tearing it up on the first song, with a hot melodic solo, the room started to jump. I chatted with the gentleman of Funkatronic for a while as I polished off my drink. I believe I caught the 3rd number from The Muve on film:
05.08.09 The Muve original song 1
It was a great jammy piece and provided a great setting for Phil’s melodic guitsar solos. Each member flexed their proverbial muscle during the musical interludes. I was pretty beat this late in the night, and my notes are pretty sparse, so unfortunately there isn’t going to be a heck of a lot of detail about the set, it was around this time that Tim came up to me and mumbled “Fucking tired, too loud, lets go home.” I was loving the set by definitely empathizing with Tim on the tired bit, but I talked him into staying for a couple more songs. I broke the camera out for the next one:
05.08.09 The Muve original song 2
Donno went to town on the keys, Rob laid out a bass line that made all the hips in the room sway, Phil slid up and down the neck, Jay kept the rhythm going while Hartley tapped the skins. It was a great jam and show them building and working off of each other so well. Loving the set I begrudedly packed up as Tim came back and gave me the zombie death gaze, guess it was time to head out. I started to say my goodbyes as The Muve broke into “Lyin’” another great track of theirs, showcased on their myspace page, check it out if you can. Tim and I made our exit while the show was still good and hot, not what I like to do normally but can’t stay till the end for ’em all.