Every time I “discover” another band, it makes me realize I have seen only the tip of the tip of the iceberg. There are so, so many excellent bands and musicians out there – everywhere. There’s simply no way to keep up. All you can do is keep your ears open and enjoy.
Squeedlepuss, a Jacksonville quintet, had played in the area recently, but I missed that show. I did catch their silent disco set from last year’s Bear Creek, and it was great (at 3 in the morning, outside, with the temperature about to hit freezing: still great). But I suspected that the full-on live set would really take off.
They stepped on stage at Skipper’s after great sets from Legacy and Holey Miss Moley (more about those later), and instantly they slammed into “Chicken & Waffles,” a great fusion jazz piece that eventually hit this ridiculous doubletime segment. Actually, the band refers to their product as “JAZZ TOMFOOLERY.” Linda and I were convinced immediately.
Then they announced they would do a Floyd cover. It began with a beautiful, jazzy vibe to it, and it took a while to unveil itself as “Money.” Stopping on a dime, the band proceeded to rock the guitar solo portion with mind-blowing effect. How come these guys haven’t been to Tampa much? This was their first Skipper’s show, and I guarantee it won’t be the last.
Rhythm section report: DAMN! Stefan Klein is simply astounding on drums. He lights up the room, or whatever you call the wonderful Skipperdome. He owned it! And batterymate Adam Kenneway was with him step for step and thump for thump. Those two and Javian Francis are co-founders of the band. Francis had a number of brilliant turns on the keyboards. It is clear that jazz comes first, with everything else piled on top. He seemed to hit all the right notes. I mean, really right notes.
Oh, the guitar guys? The ones who killed it on “Money?” That would be Paul Miller (the really TALL one) and Dan Hunting. They both got plenty of space to demonstrate their impressive chops. They blasted to the fore on some kick-ass fusion with their tune “Chromosome,” one foot in 70s fusion and the other squarely in the land of Particle and Tauk.
“No set would be complete without a Prince cover,” Miller laughed, but they blew up “Controversy,” with the guitars doing the vocal part (same way they handled “Money” and their encore, “Have a Cigar.”) Perfect funk – on the one. Other than those three tunes, they played great original music.
Come on back, boys! You’re welcome here any time!
A last-minute schedule change had Legacy looping his vocals, percussion, bass and guitars, having a great, entertaining set to open the early evening. I particularly enjoy his enthusiasm and his willingness to experiment with all of his toys. It was a great way to kick off a beautiful afternoon (and there’s that stupid pun again!).
Holey Miss Moley has been on a rampage of late. The addition of the Rev. Funky De on keyboards, Danny Clemmons on vocals and cheerleading, and Vernon Suber on percussion has truly upped the ante. On top of that, Mama Bone, a.k.a. Sarah Phillips of Green Sunshine, was a wonderful addition on trombone for the set. Mostly, HMM does original music (and where the heck is that new CD, anyway?), but when they cover, they cover right!
And you can’t go wrong with Galactic (“Doo Rag”) and the Meters (“Can You Do Without?”). Off to a great start, they hit two of their own songs, “Scallywag” and “Quagmire Funk,” before they torched into “Shake It With Me.” I LOVE LOVE LOVE Afropop, and this was the first time I recall Holey Miss Moley going in that direction. It was awesome! I’m buying them a map.
The Rev. Funky De was having a great, fun afternoon, as was Jacob Cox on guitar. And this set we got more Christian Ryan baritone saxophone, which meshed perfectly with Mama Bone. They all sounded wonderful on “People Say” into “Jajam.” And I dig Danny’s vocals on the previously instrumental “Naugatuck” and his cheerleading interjections on the closing “Devil Funk.”
And I’m not sure I’ve ever mentioned it, but Skipper’s blackened basa Reuben is to die for. Just sayin’…
[HMM Setlist: Doo Rag, Can You Do Without, Scallywag, Quagmire Funk, Shake It With Me, People Say > Jajam, Bermuda Triangle, Sho’ Nuff, Naugatuck, Devil Funk]
[Squeedlepuss Setlist: Chicken & Waffles, Money, Jutti in Djibouti, Scarecrow, Boston Meets Dethklok, The Enchanted One, Oh So Sweet, Controversy, Chromosome, Something to Crow About; E: Have a Cigar]