The Scene – April 24th, Bill’s Bar’s 2nd to Last Night

State Your Mind's CD Release Party

State Your Mind's CD Release Party

April 24th I set off to Boston after work to attend an eagerly anticipated triple bill, Greyspoke, The Effective Dose, and State Your Mind, at Bill’s Bar on Landsdowne Street knowing full well the Sox were in town. As I approached the Ho Chi Min Gas tank traffic began to screech to a halt, back in my old stomping grounds I turned to some familiar radio stations for the bumper to bumper crawl to span the remaining four exits of my highway journey. Once the Deejay began to chat I learned, not only were the Sox at home for the weekend, but the Yankees were their opponents, thus doubling Boston’s normal Friday night pandemonium. Taking the Mass Ave exit I quickly traversed the main drag to the Northeastern area, and secured my ever abundant free parking (when you know where to look) in the mythical area behind NU that does not require resident permit parking. Noticing all the changes my alma mater has gone through in the few years since I attended I was reminded I really do need to get my ass to town more. I picked up a 22, and made my way through the back alleys between Northeastern and Landsdowne, enjoying, reminiscing, and celebrating Question 2. As I crossed The Fens (part of Boston’s Emerald Necklace, a series of public parks), I could hear the roar of Fenway Park, and smell the sausages, pressed for time, or so I thought, I rounded the corner and was at Bill’s Bar. Much to my chagrin they hadn’t opened doors to the public yet, so I asked for Mike Rabito of The Effective Dose, who was holding my ticket, and waited on the street. When he arrived we caught up a bit, we share some close common friends, and chat quite a bit on-line, but I had yet to meet him. Parts of the staff had yet to arrive, so there was still plenty of time before the first act was to begin, I suggested we head back to The Fens and celebrate Question 2 some more, making sure to secure some street meat along the way. (PSA: Fenway Sausage vendors, carry Tums as well, you will make a killing!)

Greyspoke at Bill's Bar

Greyspoke at Bill's Bar

When we arrived back, they still were not allowing in the general public, Mike went back in for sound check and I chatted with the bouncers and whomever else was unfortunate enough to be within earshot of me. Bill’s bar was closing the following night, after years of providing live musical entertainment to Boston, and myself, it would be closing its doors for an undetermined future. I definitely chose a good night to get to the beaner for a show. One of the first patrons in the club, I grabbed a brew and headed to the closest cocktail table to the stage, sipped my beer slowly and leaned against a pillar to conserve energy from a long work week, before the show was to begin. First to the stage was Greyspoke, coming down to visit from Vermont.

Leon Campos of Greyspoke

Leon Campos of Greyspoke

Mike Wheeler and Rudy Kiburis of Greyspoke

Mike Wheeler and Rudy Kiburis of Greyspoke

Immediately they were out to impress with their four part vocal harmonies and long, hard jams. Southern rocky and funky, they had me bopping out of my seat early, even with the week’s exhaustion yet to subside. Rob Eaton’s melodic solos could entrance. Mike Wheeler was on rhythm guitar and lead vocals, his gruff bluesy tone lends much to their style. Rudy Kiburis was laying out some nice groovy bass lines while Jamie Heintz tapped the skins in with a great back beat. Leon Campos was the only member not contributing vocals in the harmonies, but more than made up for it with his passion on the keyboards. They next broke into a bluesy groovy number, with an exceedingly busy driving riff, “Struttin’ My Stuff:”
04.24.09 Greyspoke performing “Struttin My Stuff”

Next they played “Chicken Shack” a funky number with which I was familiar from myspace. This version had these hippie hips swaying before I even knew it. Leon was trading some keystroke lead to Rob for some really nasty lead guitar with great tone and back again. All set they were changing timing of the grooves well without loosing the jam, the best example of this was the next song played “Highway to China.” Rudy lead it in with a driving bass line and the whole room shook as they got into the groove:

04.24.09 Greyspoke performing “Highway to China”

Covering Bowie they went into a version of “Fame” that had me jumping and singing along. I’m unsure if they play Boston often, or if this was one of their first shows, but they made certain the crowd enjoyed their set, and would come back to see them again. Other songs I remember from the night (titles are guessed) are “Cisco Kid” and “We are the Fire,” complete with some octave stretching bass moves on the latter. Overall a very impressive set, I’d go see them again anytime they are playing around Southern New England. As Greyspoke was clearing the stage, I happed to bump into a good buddy, and former colleague Bobby Battista, whom I’d informed of the show, and my inevitable presence in Boston that night. We hugged and chatted and caught up a bit as we made our way out for my traditional set break/butt break.

The Effective Dose at Bill's Bar

The Effective Dose at Bill's Bar

The Effective Dose opened their set with an instrumental psychedelic funk jam. Having been listening to them for quite a while at the recommendation of a close friend, this was my first opportunity to see them play out. Impressive was their member’s multi-instrumentation. Will Raymund was seamlessly switching between rhythm guitar and hand percussion while Andrew Krahn was going between his tenor saxophone and the ivories all night. Not playing anything other than my own skin flute, anyone that can play more than one instrument, and unrelated ones at that garners, my respect. My new buddy Mike Rabito was on lead guitar (yes Nettles, you were right, I would like his shit) and blazing the trail, from melodic funky riffs to straight shredding, he was giving his fingers a major workout. Jason Felitto was grooving out the baselines on stage right, splitting his attention between the crowd and the band. Kyle Ruggieri was on the kit providing great back beat and even better fills. Instrumental heavy all night, they next chose a very Floydy psychedelic piece “Zero Gravity Room:”
04.24.09 The Effective Dose performing “Zero Gravity Room”

Andrew of The Effective Dose

Andrew of The Effective Dose

Rabito of The Effective Dose

Rabito of The Effective Dose

All night Andrew was using crazy effects on his sax and keys, not something I’ve every really seen or heard before, and lent greatly to their funky sounds, I really dug it. I’m a sucker for brass. Moving along they went into a great version of “Faust’s Poodle” and if I recall correctly, the first song all night to feature lyrics. Not being fully knowledgeable in their volume of work, I will admit to hounding Rabito for help in nailing down the titles for set list accuracy’s sake. Breaking into a heavier rock number, “Secular,” with which I was familiar, they reminded me a bit of Nirvana with the driving rhythm of the song:
04.24.09 The Effective Dose performing “Secular”

“Pig Fat and Pajamas” was their next choice, this one had me put my camera away and start shaking my ass, by this point in the night I was getting my second wind and was ready to groove a bit more. Bobby replaced my brother’s roll as crazy dance partner for the night as most females, even Nicole, are remiss to my anti-rhythm dance style (ie: fat white hippie Irish-American boy with no moves.) All night the theme of their set was the driving jams. Wanting to showcase to their fans some of their newer material, they played “Hollowface” a song that they had premiered out the previous week in Vermont, the crowd was appreciative:

04.24.09 The Effective Dose performing “Hollowface”

Wanting to keep the stage red hot for State Your Mind next, they played a song which everyone could sing along (anyone catch the Donovan reference,) Toots and the Maytal’s “54 46 (What’s My Number){Sublime has also covered this}.” The crowd obliged and sang the verses along with the band. As they wound down I recall declaring aloud “DAMN that was effective!” Set break time, always my opportunity to grab a butt break (so sick of this no smoking in bars), I grabbed Bobby and his lady and we strolled outside around the corner for a quick smoke break. “O frabjous day! Calloh Callay!” the Sox game had let out and I found that Youk and knocked an extra innings dinger to defeat The Jabberwock, err, The Yankees. It definitely turned into a celebratory stroll. We made our way back to Bill’s Bar, fighting our way back through the 39,000 Sox fans vacating Fenway.

State Your Mind at Bill's Bar

State Your Mind at Bill's Bar

Tbone of State Your Mind

Tbone of State Your Mind

State Your Mind graced the stage for their CD release party. Hard at work on their first studio release, a self-titled EP, they had been releasing one song a week to their myspace page, replacing the live recorded versions they had previously listed. I thought this was a great way to build hype for the CD release party, and certainly panned out as they played to a sold out crowd. I returned during “Cold Assed Woman,” a newer track, not on the EP. Like all their songs I’ve heard, it had a fabulous funky twist to a classic rock sound. Molding the groove they slipped into a funky assed version of “Roller Coaster of Love,” which had me shakin’ my bones from side to side while laughing, I broke into the Butthead dance. Molding right back around again they reprised “Cold Assed Woman” to an elated audience. I took out the camera for the next one, one of my favorites from SYM, “Smile for a While:”
04.24.09 State Your Mind performing “Smile for a While”

D-Money Slap of State Your Mind

D-Money Slap of State Your Mind

Four String Flava of State Your Mind

Four String Flava of State Your Mind

In hindsight, probably not the best choice as I had major difficulties trying to hold the camera steady and curtailing my hips from swaying. Tamer Azar was changing tones on his keys between a Hammond sound during musical interludes and chorus, and a piano sound during the vocal verses. Slowing it down for a bit of harmonizing, Tamer began to solo. Joey Vacca on lead vocals and guitar all night, began to raise the mood with his guitar during the key solo, and halfway through the instrumental segment took over on lead guitar (I <3 semi-hollows). Andrew Hall was putting out some rhythmic and funky bass lines all night, with David Hall providing beats on the additional percussion kit, using hands and sticks. Brian Rosenthal was behind the primary drum kit providing steady beats all night. Playing a song of redemption, next came “Second Chance:”
04.24.09 State Your Mind performing “Second Chance”

Joey V of State Your Mind

Joey V of State Your Mind

B-Rok of State Your Mind

B-Rok of State Your Mind

Joey V took some nice lead time towards the end of the song with 4-string flava slappin the bass strings the whole time. Playing one everyone would know they played a classic cover, could be “Dancing in the Moonlight,” not sure, I definitely recognized it though. Choosing to move the set in a rockier direction they played one of the songs from the EP “Sparks from the Fire.” Sung with passion and range, B-Rok seemed to be busy on this one behind the kit. Full of good lyrics and great instrumentals, like most if not all of their songs, very well balanced between instrumentation and vocals. My cohort for the evening Bobby said he and his lady were going to take off so I walked them out and said my goodbyes, I was offered a comfy couch for the night rather than an hour drive, I hopped on the opportunity and jotted down his address. I came back in to the crowd going nuts, obviously a cover a song I did not recognize, I later found out it was “The Seed 2.0” buy The Roots.  It was a pretty hot number, and having seen a lot of the Roots on TV lately I checked it our further when I got home. I’ve heard tons about The Roots, but I don’t give Hip-Hop much creedence, most of which I’ve heard is pretty shitty. More on this in later blogs. Next they came to the microphone and declared a dance off for free CDs to their next number. Obviously written for the band to jam and the crowd to groove, they played a 10 minute version of “Badunkaphunk:”
04.24.09 State Your Mind performing “Badunkaphunk”

Yet another one I filmed and really wanted to be shaking my ass. A common theme on the night. On fire all night they funked it out to a sold out crowd, Tbone really hammered the organ keys making sure no one in the room was still. Closing out the night they played a new one “What’s Done is Done.” This one really let D-Money Slap go to town on the additional percussion kit, taking a nice extended solo. The crowd loved it, and the applause was deafening. On my way out I made sure to thank all the players I still saw around for an incredible night of music, that surpassed all the hype, and to grab a CD.

I made my way back to Bobby’s apartment for the evening for a couple hours rest before I headed home. When I arrived, Bobby and his friends had acquired a few more friends from France from the local youth hostel. We imbibed a few more brews that they around, and we started to break into song. I only had the presence of mind to capture one impromptu song, “Guiome is a Homo:”

04.24.09 Bobby Battista impromptu “Guiome is a Homo”

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