April 11th, Saturday night was the same story to start, unable to rouse any troops I assaulted Providence solo again. This time I went to The Box on North Main Street to catch Sinister Minstrel and Gravity Works as per Zach Fenner’s suggestion. I arrived at The Box (appropriately named as the capacity is 49) around 9:45 and had time to grab a basket of fries and chat with Zach and some of his friends and band mates. I came to find out that Zach would be the guitarist and co-front man for both bands performing this evening. Just another example of hard working local musicians, both Sinister Minstrel and Gravity Works are projects of his, while also playing guitar for Fungus Amungus (one of those bands I’d heard a lot about, but never really checked out, digging their tunes on Myspace).
Sinister Minstrel started the night with folky blues number, “Lady in Green” (guessing at the title). Zach tore it up on the electric guitar accompanied by a steady acoustic rhythm provided by Mike Davis. Jeff Siatkowski laid out some nice foot stomping bass groves with Nic Deigan rockin’ some great beats on the kit they had the whole room paying attention. Not only was the music tight, their lyrics were hilarious. They were like the bastard child of Tenatious D and Flight of the Conchords with hard rock jam sensibilities. I caught myself simultaneously shaking my ass and busing a gut. They played a heavy and humorous version of “Makeout Mountain” and Nic really let go on the skins. At various points throughout the night they took 15 second set breaks for “The Minstrel Toast,” making sure everyone on stage had the chance to wet their whistle, the camaraderie was great! Towards the end of their set they invited some friends to join them on stage. Kat (Zach’s Girlfriend) and Nate Beauvais (bassist for both Gravity Works and GROW) came down front and helped cover FOTC’s “Think about it” passing verses back and forth while the band jammed out the track. Great version! They started to wind down the set and played a song that had me busting at the seams, I’ll guess it’s titled “Pickin’ My Nose” (see the clip after the break).
It was at about this point my brother stumbled into the bar saying “You Bastard! I dropped my buddy off and happened to see your car parked here, I was in for an early night but NOOOO you had to be at The Box.” (it is Rhode Island after all, you are bound to run into 8 people you know at any given location in the state) Ah nothing like brotherly love to make even more hilarity ensue! Throughout most of the set I could her Celtic undertones in the rhythm and lead guitar for most songs, at the end they switched it up and played a little Russian number I’d guess is called “Babushka” it was a great was more great high energy hilarity for the gents in Sinister Minstrel. As they wound down and stated clearing equipment I decided to head out around the block for a butt, still laughing on the inside. Strolling back towards the box I walked past their 2nd route of egress that’s covered up for repairs, and was reminded of my recent struggles with insurance companies, and just shook my head.
Gravity works opened the set with a little reggae funk number, Zach sang that started to get the whole room moving. Nate took lead vocals for the second number, it was a funky blues number with some great harmonies. Joe Jannerelli was putting out some pretty impressive beats on the drums with Paul Siliva providing additional percussion on bongos, congas and Zendrum (think Futureman). Marco Leclerc was up and down the ivories all night with some pretty impressive piano/keyboard work. The whole band did a fantastic job of trading solos all night, from guitar to keys, keys to drums, drums to bass, bass to hand drums and back again. It was at this point in the set the band noted their friend John in the audience, one of the more vocal fans of the evening, and played a song for him. Joe was pretty busy with fills, at points seeming as though he had 4 arms. I’m not sure the title, “Tragic Overbite” possibly, but it went into a trance inducing introspective instrumental sequence so intense I had to step out for a cigarette. While distracted in conversation on North Main Street and halfway through my American Spirit a meticulous bass line started to shake the walls of the Box, I immediately flung my butt into the ash-trough and rushed inside to check out Nate’s finger work. Solid and groovy, most of the cats and kittens down front had started to shake a bit more. I think the song was titled “The Unveiling” and it was a hot version. Marco was delicately tickling the ivories and gave way into a ripping solo from Zach. Everyone on stage looked like they were having a ton of fun together, exchanging glances, building the songs together and were practically making love to their respective instruments. I grabbed my digital camera to capture their next number “Hamilton Bupo.”
Next Paul Silvia took lead vocals and they proceeded to cover a Frank Zappa song, “Slime” if I’m not mistaken. This is where he showcased his Zendrum, tapping wildly away on the thing. The crowd certainly loved it, I’m not too familiar with Zappa’s material, but Paul was certainly getting into it and having a blast. The started to wind down the set with a number that reminded me of Skat Jazz, it was a chill way to round out the night. I felt Gravity working over the course of their set, more than once I found my face melted to the floor. Defiantly a must see live band!