This week’s Peach Music Festival is so incredibly star-laden that it would be easy to miss some of the other great bands in the lineup. With that in mind, here are six you owe it to yourself to check out.
Back at the turn of the millennium, Deep Banana Blackout was one of the major players in the funk field, spreading that P-Funk-style vibe with plenty of rock and jazz thrown in. Several years later, the band entered a long hiatus, interrupted occasionally by reunion shows. They began a tradition of performing at the Gathering of the Vibes in their home State of Connecticut in 2007, continuing through this year. Original vocalist Jen Durkin’s powerful voice was also featured in Bernie Worrell’s Woo Warriors and The Bomb Squad. Rob Somerville’s tenor saxophone and vocals are front and center in Kung Fu. Deep Banana Blackout’s Thursday night throw-down will be an early highlight for certain.
Pigeons Playing Ping Pong is another funkin’ band, a quartet from Baltimore. Led by ‘Scrambled’ Greg Ormont on vocals and guitar, this wild outfit is a party waiting to happen. Their recent appearances at The Big WHAT? in North Carolina and The Great Outdoors Jam in Florida bowled over a lot of brand new fans. Alex Petropulus provides flight propulsion from his drum kit. And then you have Ben and Jeremy. Ben is Ben Carrey, and there is no other way to say this: he is one bad-ass bass player. Absolutely amazing. And Jeremy Schon is their secret weapon. You are concentrating on Carrey’s bass antics and Ormont’s theatrics, when suddenly you recognize that Schon is absolutely blowing it UP on guitar. And all they wanna do is “F.U. — F.U.N.K.” And on Friday they most assuredly will!
Also on Friday are one of Florida’s treasures, The Heavy Pets. This South Florida quintet can go any and every direction, sometimes in the same song. Rock, reggae, a hint of country, soul, and funk, funk, funk, the Pets are ready to sing “So Thank You Music.” Their rhythm section is beyond tight, with Tony d’Amato on bass and drummer Jamie Newitt laying the rock-solid foundation. Jeff Lloyd and Mike Garulli are both superb guitarists and fine singers. And the keyboard wizardry of Jim Wuest ties it all together (great vocals, too). If you’ve never seen the Pets, put this one on your schedule now!
Maybe you are a electronic/jamtronic fan, perhaps not. Either way, you owe it to yourself to check out two great bands on Saturday’s lineup: Lotus and Dopapod. Lotus has been at this since 1999, and the band has built a strong fan base, they have a superb light show, and they play real instruments… plus computers. Their sound is at once organic and electronic. Mike Rempel’s guitar lines are so beautifully clean, shimmering. They dance on top of the keyboards of Luke Miller, who also plays guitar. Jesse Miller plays bass and sampler, and together with percussionist Chuck Morris and drummer Mike Greenfield they add layer upon layer to the sound of Lotus.
Dopapod hails from ‘the northeast,’ self-described. They refer to their style as “Progressive Rock and Dance music:” 100% accurate. Eli Winderman is another master of the keyboards, and Rob Compa plays some killer guitar. Chuck Jones on bass and Scotty Zwang on drums make a formidable rhythm section. Their live performances are a blast, and they work hard to have all of their shows posted on Bandcamp as soon as they can, which really helps fans connect. There might be a great “Trapper Keeper” in your future!
Last, but absolutely not least on this list of six bands you should check out, is Bobby Lee Rodgers. Bobby Lee has been a fixture at the Wanee Festival for years and at the Peach since its inception. He is a great songwriter, fine singer, and one of the most underrated guitar players on the planet. He can play with blistering speed, rock the blues, and deliver some awesome jazz. Somewhere, Bobby Lee must have a closet full of great bass players and drummers, because his band is always top-notch. For this show, BLR will be joined by monster drummer Tom Damon.
There you have it: six more names to help you fill up your dance card at the Peach Music Festival this weekend. MusicFestNews will see you there!