I was going to opine that there are two types of people who visit a bar/club such as Green Bench Brewery in St. Pete, but perhaps I’ll amend that to three. Type 1 folks are there to hear the music, period. Type 2 people are there to have a good time and don’t mind if there is some background noise going on. They may even turn their heads on occasion, nod heads, perhaps tap feet. Type 3 peeps head straight to the sports TVs to watch The Big Game and talk with friends and listen to the usual “musak” spilling out of bar speakers. And never the twain (that means two – I don’t know its equivalent for three) shall meet.
There weren’t many patrons this particular Saturday at the Green Bench. Too bad, because it was a gorgeous, cool, breezy night outside, and Future Vintage was playing. As I looked around at the few Type 1s and Type 2s, I was thinking: Maybe FV will just phone this one it. Play it safe. Make an easy night of it.
This was my 13th FV show since my first last October, and they have never phoned it in. They continue to improve and excite every time they hit the stage (or the floor, or whaever). Band leader and keyboard player Matt Giancola and I will disagree about this: he was unhappy with “glitches” in the second set. Perfectionists are just that way; for me, it was the best show I’ve seen them deliver yet.
It’s nice when you have an engaged “crowd;” when the crowd is thin, damn the torpedos and full speed ahead! Three songs into the set, they unveiled another Herbie Hancock gem, “Sunlight.” So much of FV’s work is an homage to Herbie and that wonderful 70s fusion, and this was no exception. The last three songs of the set (almost all tunes are originals) were monstrous, especially the set-closing “Body,” one of my real favorites.
Maybe it was the fact that the boys had a bunch of new toys. You know how boys are. I won’t pretend I could identify any of them by name, but it was clear there were new “devices” at each man’s station. Bassist Trevor McDannel had a superb evening, happy to be playing and testing out his new stuff. And this for me was Dean Rocco’s best show on drums – traps and drum pads. Dean is also filled with the joy of another new child in his household, and that came out in his playing. That and turning me on to James Brown’s album In the Jungle Groove (how did I not know about that one?).
This is music that makes me happy: jamtronica, electronica, fusion, funk, whatever you want to call it. They have a number of sets up on archive.org that you can listen to and download for free, but you really need to hear them live to appreciate what they bring to the dancefloor. In fact, the tune before set-closer “The Hawk” was “Get On the Floor > Around the Corner,” with Giancola experimenting with the talk box he got from Ben Plott.
(Plott is an excellent guitar player who moved to Costa Rica to follow a life dream, and we continue to wish him well.)
Great to check out Green Bench Brewery, a really nice venue with tons of chairs, grass, water bowls for dogs, a food truck, games and great beer. Speaking of which, why on earth would you go to a place with a dozen superb beers on tap and BUY A BOTTLE OF THE USUAL STUFF? I don’t get it.
Wonderful as always to spend time with Anna of all things media (including some of her photos, which I “borrowed!”). Also great to see Fil Pate.
[Setlist: SET 1: The Jibe, Red Leather, Sunlight, Rarefied, Obliquity, Feels So Good, Body; SET 2: Duke Meets the Booty, Doin’ It Right, That Nasty Spot, Tarantism, Zombie Killer, Get On the Floor > Around the Corner, The Hawk]