The place was slammed for a Monday night. Any night, really. OK, it was 4/20, dude. But still. These Captain Green boys have been here so often you’d think they were house-hunting! Actually, they have made great connections here in Central Florida and are increasing their exposure, working to widen their geographical territory.
They are more than welcome in Orlando and in St. Petersburg, that’s for certain. This 4/20 throw-down was at The Amsterdam. It is such a hip place. Dogs are welcome, owner John works hard to bring good music in town, and they serve porters and stouts along with that beer you can see through.
The show was a great triple bill. Unfortunately, I missed my friends Holey Miss Moley, because I was chained to this keyboard trying to get my Wanee review finished and posted (all 4500 words of it). By the time you read this, it will be tonight (or, even, yesterday, eventually) that Ajeva and Holey Miss Moley will once again join forces along with Come Back Alice at the Ringside Café just down the street from The ‘dam. And you can see Holey Miss Moley AND Come Back Alice at WMNF’s Tropical Heatwave Saturday (May 2nd). AND Orange Blossom Jamboree (May 14-17). AND Great Outdoors Jam (July 3-5). And singer Robyn Alleman has joined the band! W00T!
The Baton Rouge invaders were just here in January for a handful of Florida dates, making great contacts all along the way. I had seen two of those shows plus part of their Bear Creek set in November. As I am pleased to say about virtually every band on the scene, Captain Green has raised their game. This was a new level, the playing strong, solos tight and excellent. They fed off the energy of the room in a reciprocal process. After “Chicken and Waffles” (from Everywhere Is Where It’s At), they invited multireed player Christian Ryan of HMM up to play alto alongside Darin Jones on tenor and David Melançon on trumpet. They knocked out a great version of “Brother Biscuit.” Ryan can play with anybody; his adaptability is remarkable, although this music is squarely in his wheelhouse.
The sound mix was not optimal this night, a bit too loud, and HMM’s Kenny Harvey was constantly trying to get it adjusted. So the sound was meh, but the performances were superb. Bob Kling and Mike Harris again teamed up to put the pedal to the metal, driving the Captain Green spaceship along. And here’s an interesting question: are many guitar players ambidextrous as far as wah-wah pedals are concerned? You can get really close at The ‘dam, and I really had a blast watching Grant Hudson have a great night on guitar. But he switches feet for the wah-wah! I’m impressed. Then there were the socks, one black, one white. Hey, it worked for me!
As always, the keyboard and synthesizer work of Ross Hoppe is at the center of the maelstrom. This was just a great Monday night, as they closed with the title track from Protect Each Other Together.
Then it was Ajeva’s turn. I was thoroughly out of gas, having just returned from Wanee, but I made it through half of their excellent set. The first number featured Melançon and Jones on horns. You can try to keep Melançon off the stage, but it would be futile. Just let him play! Like Ryan, he can adapt to anything.
After the interlopers left the “stage” (OK, at The ‘dam it’s the floor, but you know what I mean), Ajeva laid down a groovy “If You Want Me to Stay” with Ryan Skahill on guitar and vocal. Travis Young always wears the biggest smile when he is behind the drumkit, keeping the funk machine on course. Taylor Gilchrist was all about that bass, and Dean Arscott hopped from keyboards to percussion and back. Be sure to check them out at OBJ and at Great Outdoors Jam.
There is just so much great music happening in St. Pete, in the Bay area, and all along the I-4 corridor. We are truly, truly lucky to be right here. Enjoy every minute of it.
Great to see Dani, Tony and Yral from Come Back Alice, P.K., Robyn and the merry 4/20-ers. Great respect when musicians come to hear other musicians.