Day Two (August 8) of the craziness began just as Day One did, at Della’s After Dark, with Fil Pate, performing as Filoop, looping his guitar and mandolin in beautiful style. I am truly amazed that jazz was the most recent of his musical genre acquisitions. He had another stellar first set before I had to leave to get to St. Petersburg.
I raved about Della’s on Friday, and I’ll double down on those remarks for Saturday. Great service, superb food (green salad and shrimp & grits! Oh, and an amazing chocolate torte), and heavenly Night Swim Porter. Seriously, check it out. It’s worth the drive to sparkling downtown Brandon.
Fil crushed another magical set of jazz, gypsy swing and more. And he stumped me twice! I like that. Set began with a truly lovely “Satin Doll.” As mentioned before, in this setting, where he can switch from guitar to mandolin and back, with multiple layers, each tune takes at least ten minutes or more to develop, as he examines it from every angle.
From there, he strummed the unmistakable intro to “Song for My Father,” the quintessential Horace Silver composition. Then he got me on Django Reinhardt’s “Swing 42;” I am so ashamed. It’s clear Fil has absorbed the classics and is interpreting them with great care. He followed that with Dizzy Gillespie’s best-known tune, “A Night in Tunisia.”
Fil stumped me the second time with a fine Kenny Garrett composition, “Sing a Song of Song.” As he began the following tune, it reminded me of “Satin Doll,” but eventually “Take the A Train” emerged in all its glory. And he topped that off with a spot-on reading of “Mr. P.C.” which Coltrane wrote for his bassist, Paul Chambers.
His first set over, I headed to St. Petersburg for Taylor Gilcrest’s birthday party at The Amsterdam. Taylor is the bass player for the great band Ajeva. In addition to Ajeva, the bill included Holey Miss Moley and Flat Land. What are the chances I would miss THREE of my favorite bands? Exactly!
Flat Land, from Gainesville, was on the last night of an extended tour that took them to Nashville and through North Carolina. Exhausted though they were from the long trip, they nonetheless proceeded to throw down the best set I’ve ever heard from them. As we spoke, I discovered how they found yet another gear.
Drummer Grant McLeod explained that he recorded as many shows on the tour as possible. The day after the show, while driving to their next destination, the quartet would listen to the recording, highlight its strengths, and note its deficiencies. It was clear this paid great dividends, as evidenced by the excellent crowd response, the insane number of people dancing, and the number of people walking to their cars after the Rays’ game who stopped to listen for a while (the band was set up under a small canopy in the lot next to the building).
Flat Land blew it out right from the start. Percussionist Ian McLeod has been playing with the band as often as possible but was unable to make the recent tour, but he was at The Amsterdam and, as always, greatly added to the sound. I had in my mind what should come next to set the hook, and I was so glad I was right: “Rufio’s Last Stand” is a simply outstanding song that Fae sets up with violin and vocals; guitarist Chris Storey then CRUSHED. IT. He is a great player, and I think this was the best set I’ve heard from him. Personally, I think it was the sunglasses.
Fae Nageon de Lestang is a fascinating front woman. She is an excellent violin player and vocalist, but what sells it is her dancing and her ease in talking to the crowd. “If you’re standing outside the fence, come on in! There’s no cover!” There is just something, for instance, about the way she holds violin and bow while she’s singing.
There was a stronger funk element to the set, which perhaps they ‘taylored’ to the dancing crowd, but this has been a trend ever since they first bowled me over at Gov-Fest in February. A lot of that may have to do with the fact that Nate Garland on bass and Grant seem in total lockstep, absolutely on the one.
Flat Land has been covering “Taxman,” and this version has developed greatly and always garners great response. This was one killer set.
During set break, people drifted in and out of the bar, and many were seated at the tables on the sidewalk. There was a DJ inside from an event that started earlier in the day, and it was slamming. Kudos, as usual, to The Amsterdam staff for promoting live music so strongly.
DID I MENTION that The Amsterdam had on tap Angry Chair Brewing Fudge Bucket Imperial Sweet Stout from Tampa? Because WOW.
Holey Miss Moley was up next outside. They have been on a tear recently, from appearances at The Great Outdoors Jam and Roosevelt Collier’s Suwannee Getdown as well as other shows. Fortunately for everyone, Mother Nature was also cooperating, a delightful change from the recent daily deluges.
HMM got everyone’s attention with another great version of “Ain’t No Use” into “JaJam,” a band original. Poor Kenny Harvey was logging miles running back and forth between his bass and the soundboard. But the sound was good (except for one squirrelly microphone near the end). A bunch of HMM originals followed, including “Naugatuck,” “Bermuda Triangle,” “Shake It with Me” and “Devil Funk.” Drummer Anthony Morales was back at the drum kit, playing one-handed while his left wrist continues to heal.
They also played their glorious cover of Orgōne’s “Don’t Stop,” featuring Robyn Alleman on vocals. This was the third time I ‘saw’ her sing this, but the first time I really was able to ‘hear’ her. She was marvelous. Then the Ajeva boys, Travis Young and Reed Skahill, jumped up to help Danny Clemmons with the hip hop portion of the set: “I Wanna Do Something Freaky to You > Nothin’ But a ‘G’ Thang > ATLiens.” It was a great set from a band who continues to raise their game.
Music started almost immediately inside (noise ordinance cuts off outside live music at midnight) with Ajeva. Sardines are not so tightly packed. It was a great tribute to all three bands, birthday boy Taylor Gilchrist and The Amsterdam staff that this was such a popular event. I actually found a seat inside for a while and had a good view of Taylor with birthday cake on his face. They were rocking The ‘Dam! finally, I was on sensory overload, and I split before the superjam took place. I’m sure it was superb.
Happy birthday, Taylor! Two days down, one to go.