When your calendar is overfull, and you don’t pay enough attention to it, you miss stuff. I missed a show I really wanted to see two weeks ago — had the wrong day in mind. And I had been receiving emails from Erwin, the manager for The Jauntee, about their summer tour, which actually began back in April. I’d promised myself I would get an article out.
The email jumped out at me again last Friday, June 23rd, so I determined I would get the piece out. By sheer coincidence, their next show was that night, in Tampa. Maybe, I thought, as I banged out the story. In the meantime, I picked one of their shows on YouTube to listen to.
You might guess what happened. I was so impressed with the video that I decided to change the night’s plans entirely to head to Skipper’s Smokehouse to see this band live, because it was obvious these boys could jam!
One other issue, and let’s get it out of the way first. The sound was unnecessarily loud. It reached the law of diminishing returns, where louder isn’t better, just louder. 85% of the volume would still have sounded great and avoided some potential ear damage. Two issues, actually. The set break music was just as loud. That should be a time when people could converse without shouting. Should be.
Somatic, of the Hometeam bands from Tampa, was up first. Due to my last-minute decision, I missed every one of their new original songs; this band has been working hard to up their game. I was in time for two really fine cover tunes. First was a total reworking of “Midnight Rider,” an interesting bluesy take on the song. Stuffed in the middle was “Hey Pocky A-Way,” and that was great, too. Bam Forza’s vocals wrapped around Max Kipnis’ voice as the songs interlocked, while Elliot Dickinson offered several nice guitar solos. And Sean Hartley and Brad Elliott are great players separately and even more effectively. Somatic closed with a bouncing version of “Deal,” smiles all around.
Whale Feral was playing their third date with The Jauntee on their Florida swing. The band was fronted by guitarists Matt Urban (solid body) and Ricky Cagno (hollowbody). Cagno handled most of the vocals. The Gainesville quartet got nice crowd response throughout their set, especially on several of Urban’s excellent guitar solos.
And then it was time to check out The Jauntee up close and personal. They romped directly into a short jam titled “JMO” which segued into “Mammoth Relaxes,” featuring drummer Scott Ferber and keyboard king Tyler Adams (he had six keyboards and used and abused them all, especially the Hammond B3) on vocals. As is the case with most great jam bands, the members have heavy jazz backgrounds. In this quartet’s case, they are all Berklee School of Music graduates. Enough said. The jazz rhythm guitar on this song by Caton Sollenberger was excellent. Clearly, this band plays together as one. Heading in an entirely different direction, they shot into a bluegrass/country shitkicker named “Colorado” which got everybody dancing, and that worked its way into the altogether different feel of “Doggone Blues,” where “the truth hurts less.”
And then BOOM! The next half-hour plus was one of those brilliant extended jams that belongs in the conversation with those of Panic, Phish, and all of the other jam titans. It was that good, as good as it gets. “Lightman” just seemed to roll through a variety of styles and genres. Jon Loland reminded us once again that it IS all about the bass; he was straight-up badass. The jam included great exchanges between Adams on electric piano and Sollenberger on guitar. Eventually, it transitioned into “Renaissance Man,” an incredibly tight jam that referenced “wide receiver” and had Adams singing several choruses of “A Love Supreme.” The whole jam — and the entire set — was propelled by Ferber’s powerhouse drumming. THAT’S how you do it!
A really jazzy electric piano and guitar intro led into “Dirty Job,” as in “It’s a dirty job, but somebody’s got to do it.” Adams abused several synthesizers, and a jazzy jam emerged, Loland’s bass huge. We were close to the witching hour when suddenly Sollenberger played the unmistakable opening chords to Neil Young’s “Old Man,” rendered faithfully; he sang it as well. Convinced to play an encore, the band chose “I Wanna Love You (Just for One Night).” After the vocal portion, Adams launched into some synth fun, when suddenly Loland redirected the tune with some wicked walking bass. WOW!
You need to check these guys out, like, soon. They are in Sanford FL at West End Trading Co. tonight (Sunday, June 25th), then next week in Augusta (Southbound Smokehouse), Savannah (Barrelhouse South), Asheville, and Atlanta (Aisle 5). After the holiday, they’ll play the first of two shows in residence at Baltimore’s The 8×10 before a swing through Pittsburgh (Cattivo), Louisville (Time and Space), and Cincinnati (Urban Artifact).
There is a lot more in store. Check out our recent preview. This is feel-good music that delivers!
[THE JAUNTEE: JMO > Mammoth Relaxes, Colorado > Doggone Blues, Regretless Acceptance, Lightman > Renaissance Man, Dirty Job, Old Man; E: I Wanna Love You]