The hippiest, trippiest music venue in the Tampa Bay area is The Blueberry Patch in Gulfport. The Patch, as it is affectionately known, was the brainchild of Dallas Bohrer, who passed away in 2014. Peace, Love and Blueberries is the little festival held annually in his honor. This year’s show was Saturday, February 27th, featuring NoNeed, Row Jomah, Ajeva and S.P.O.R.E.
As often seems to occur in my world, life happened, and once again I missed NoNeed. I swear I will catch a full set from these boys next time!
Row Jomah had just started their set when I arrived at the magical Patch. this quintet has been consistently rock steady and, like most everybody on the scene, improves each and every time out. This was no exception. Joe Roma’s crisp acoustic guitar accents every song and jumpstarts many of them. Melbourne Walsh had his usual superb night crushing guitar solos and comping all set long.
There were new tunes I don’t know by name yet mixed in with songs such as “Tell Me” and “Outhouse.” I got my “St. Thomas” keyboard tease from Austin Llewellyn, too. Roma announced the last song for people who like cats, meaning, obviously, “Cat People!”
The Ajeva crew has likewise been on fire ever since last October (or was it August?) with the expansion of the group and, more recently, the inclusion of vocalists Kela Rothrock and Eliana Blanchard has added yet another dimension to this truly funky outfit. They have been perfecting tunes with this lineup, older songs and tunes from the excellent new album (soon to be released) titled, appropriately, Evolve.
They kicked out with “Off the Mountain > Space Ducks > 7:45,” a great way to start. Reed Skahill’s distinctive voice is perfect for some of my favorite songs of theirs, including “Funky Situation” and “Do Not Command.” Dean Arscott is a beast on percussion, adding great colors and accents to every song. Last tune? A smashing version of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps!”
And then it was time for S.P.O.R.E. This quartet rips my head off every time I see them, and this was (thankfully) my third time hearing them in February. Once again, I was blown away. They wasted no time launching into “Inoculate,” from there to “Domoto” and “Hamster Hash.” Bassist Steve Honig was a blur of action all night, in tight lockstep with Chris Richard on drums. They drive this train hard.
Alex Sears doesn’t have as many keyboards as some of his contemporaries, but he gets just as many amazing sounds out of the ones he does use. He led the crushing of “Jah-Bim-Ka.” “Here’s the Thing” and “Tainted Pitties” were superb, as was “Wait for It.”
And I have utmost respect for guitarist Jeremy Kairalla, who once again seemed to make time stand still and shred — all at the same time, it seemed. And speaking of “Respect,” that was one of the closing tunes, along with “Breakthrough” and “Ethereal.”
Honestly, ladies and gentlemen, if you like full-frontal prog rock and funk, or, as they call it, “Live Instrumentated Electrofunk Jam,” you owe it to yourself to check out S.P.O.R.E.
You owe it to yourself to check out ALL these great bands. What a great way to honor the memory of Dallas Bohrer!
And I have to check out NoNeed — for a complete set!