I had just finished hearing several excellent bands, two superb ones, and one so astounding I reckoned I should just head home rather than look for more.
Luckily, I knew that more meant the Joe Marcinek Band and that it would be awesome.
Let’s call that a wild understatement. In the past 15 months, I’ve collided with the Indiana guitar player and band collector more than a half dozen times, including at Wanee, as artist at large at Home Team New Year’s Rally, and at five or so shows at Dunedin Brewery. It never matters which amazing musicians he has curated for a particular run of shows, because the music will be off the charts.
But Saturday night so incredible, so stunning, that my mind is totally blown. For this series of shows (January 11-14), he enlisted some fairly regular compatriots in Steve Molitz (Particle) on keyboards, Tony Hall (Dumpstaphunk, Tony Hall Band) on bass, Jason Hann (String Cheese Incident) on drums, and Juanjamon (The Juanjamon Band) on tenor sax. Everybody sang at one point or another.
I arrived late from the first event, missing my favorite song from Marcinek’s superb new album Slink, “George Washington,” which for me was the best song of 2016. From there, Hall crooned Sly’s “If You Want Me to Stay.” After “Holtsford” (also from Slink), the quintet blew out a monster version of “Scarlet Begonias > Fire On the Mountain.”
(Here is a link to the “George Washington” opener!)
I arrived to find another man singing and playing guitar on “What’s Going On.” And what was going on was a great visit by Hann’s dad, Captain Larry; he was the other man! Tough to beat father and son on stage together. After Marcinek got back on stage, the band played the Slink title track.
There was one tune to go before set break. During the break, Molitz was talking about what a blast they were having these past four days here in Florida and that they had been listening to Buddy Miles in the van. It was clear that influenced what occurred next, as that one tune was ABB’s “Dreams” as interpreted by Miles. I’d guess it was about 15 minutes worth of face-melting funky blues. Hall had the Miles vocal approach down cold while Juanjamon added the horn punch.
After the break, they paid tribute to the late Dr. Bernie Worrell with the tune named in his honor on Slink; Molitz did “Bernie” proud on synths and electric piano. Molitz was showcased again as the band played the title track from the first Particle album, Launchpad. That was jamtronic deliciousness, and everybody dug deep into it. I’ve never heard Marcinek sound better on guitar than this night, and Hann was so deep in the pocket.
I’m sure these guys sounded great on the first night of the four-date run, but they were totally intertwined by night four. Another cover of a Buddy Miles cover, “Down by the River,” was next (both Miles tunes are from his 1970 masterpiece Them Changes). I wasn’t the only one who heard parallels to “Us and Them” during the jams, once again very trance-dancey. And speaking of dance-y, the dance floor was packed the entire night.
They invited Pam A La Songstress up to help on a tune Marcinek — and everybody else — loves to play: “Shakedown Street.” This was again the funk version (hallelujah!), so funky that at one point Marcinek and Molitz turned it into “Don’t Stop ’Til You Get Enough.” Hall was simply brilliant on bass. All night.
Dillon Reeder had been traveling with the band for this run, a superb equipment and sound man and fine drummer. Marcinek invited him up on kit for “Feelin’ Alright,” a great cover, especially since some of us had seen the tune’s co-writer performer it earlier in the day! Reeder was rock solid as everybody was singing.
It was nearing the bewitching hour, and Marcinek made that ever-unpopular announcement: “We’ve got time for one more song.” But what a song it was! It certainly seemed like it would veer directly into “Rosie,” given that Hann was sitting at the drum kit, but then an almost identical arrangement of “I’m Your Boogie Man” exploded, and the place went bonkers. Everybody soloed: Marcinek, Juanjamon, Hall, Molitz and then Hann (order more or less accurate!).
Do yourself a favor: if Joe hits your town, get off your A$$ and jam!
[SET 1: George Washington, If You Want Me to Stay, Holtsford, Scarlet Begonias > Fire On the Mountain, What’s Going On, Slink, Dreams; SET 2: Bernie, Launchpad, Down by the River, Shakedown Street Don’t Stop tease, Feelin’ Alright, I’m Your Boogie Man w/ Rosie teases]
The YouTube videos are courtesy of CHeeSeHeaDPRoDuCTioNs from the 01/13/17 show at the Funky Biscuit.