It’s time for Throwback Thursday. I know, I know; it’s Wednesday. But the show from six months ago is directly related to this Thursday’s show, so we’re doing this today.
The show this Thursday at the Dunedin Brewery features The Reality and Cosmic Groove Ensemble. Let me tell you why you shouldn’t miss this show.
The Reality held their album release party at Dunedin Brewery on June 25th. They were joined for the evening by Cosmic Groove Ensemble and shoeless soul. It was an amazing night of music.
Cosmic Groove Ensemble opened the show. I knew nothing about them, but I loved the name, and I was pleased to see Dillon Reeder (Green Sunshine) at the drum kit. The band’s Facebook page claims “Consciously Soulful Funkadelia. Roots of the future.” After hearing them, I agree!
CGE, based out of St. Petersburg, features Lisa Ogden on vocals, Jeremy on keyboards and Henry Gallo on bass in addition to Reeder. Normally, you might have anticipated a guitar player in this configuration, but the bottom line is this: Jeremy didn’t need one! He was that impressive!
After “Fly Free,” they dug into “Now Here” with deep funk bass. The organ work was superb, then bypassed by some nasty clavinet. Reeder and Gallo had been pushing the pace, and then they backed off (a bit) for “A Part of Everything” and “The Source,” a lovely ballad. Ogden’s voice was equally effective on the ballads and the funked-up stuff.
There was a reggae-ish lilt to “Whassup Mi Brother,” and then “Fire” featured wicked synthesizers. They closed the joyous set with a Happy Birthday salute to Reeder and a dance party with “Play That Funky Music.”
shoeless soul were up second, and they promptly delivered the best set I’ve heard from them. After opening with “It’s All Good,” they played a masterful cover of The Zombies’ “She’s Not There.” Rene Schlegel had a fine guitar solo during an island-sounding “Day Fade Away.” And Mike Ratza was on fire all evening on tenor saxophone.
“Abracadabra” featured a great wah-wah solo from Schlegel and beautiful wordless harmonies from Schlegel and Dave Gerulat at the drum kit. “Greed” also incorporated reggae sensibilities with more great tenor sax and wah-wah guitar. The band hit full stride on “Time,” a simply magnificent jazzy tune with a magic tenor solo, yet another great guitar solo, and that false ending!
Gerulat and Sladjan Vidic on bass are absolutely the perfect rhythm section for this band, and they were excellent the entire set. They really showed out during the jazz changes to “Obviously Oblivious,” perhaps my favorite shoeless soul song. Vidic’s playing underneath Ratza’s solo was a thing of beauty.
Dan Jones of The Reality declared that “Smile” was his favorite shoeless soul song, and it was great. And the quartet closed with a great Latin tune called “Paving the Way.” If you’ve never heard shoeless soul, put that on your to-do list. Now!
Then it was time for The Reality to debut their new album Rhetoric, and they did so, from track one to the end. You can read our review of the album on this link.
After the short spacey intro of “Live Lonely,” space bass from Caleb Bone kept the dance party going. And Bone had a nice solo during “Last Time.” One of my real album favorites was next, “Scooch On Over,” with Jones picking up the trombone in place of the guitar; there were great harmony vocals, and Logan Charles III was playing drums AND keyboards!
“All My Time” was just huge, Jones rocking on guitar and more excellent harmony vocals. Then Bone helped blow up “Whatever You Wanted” with his whistling intro, so much fun. “The Funk” had Charles’ drums blazing while Jones was wailing on guitar and delivering vocals that ranged from falsetto to Cake-like speaking.
Next up were two songs with hip hop vocals: “You Ain’t Her Man” and “Pair Tree.” Jones performs these so that you can actually understand the lyrics. What a concept! After “Guardian” (more hip hop flavors) and “Here to Stay,” a near-ballad closer to reggae than I recalled, they simply blew it all out on Dancin’ with D,” the longest and rockin’-est tune on the album. The demand for an encore was met with a new song, “No Apologies,” that was also well received.
Since that time, there are two changes to the lineup for The Reality. In addition to Jones and Bone, Brian “BA” Jones now plays drums, and they have also added Kyle Sareyani on keyboards and flute.
Here is a link to The Reality’s new single “Medium Tempo.”
Catch The Reality and Cosmic Groove Ensemble Thursday at the Dunedin Brewery, and mark your calendars for February 17-19 for ZenFest, a wonderful small music festival at All World Acres in Plant City. The Reality and shoeless soul will perform on Saturday, February 18th, along with a number of other great bands. shoeless soul has played every ZenFest since its inception; The Reality made their first appearance their last year. Read our review of last year’s event here.
[COSMIC: Fly Free, Now Here, A Part of Everything, The Source, Whassup Mi Brother, Fire, Happy Birthday Dillon Reeder]
[SHOELESS: It’s All You, She’s Not There, Day Fade Away, I Wish, Abracadabra, Greed, Time, Obviously Oblivious, Smile, Paving the Way]
[REALITY: Live Lonely, Know My Name, Last Time, Scooch on Over, All My Time, Whatever You Wanted, The Funk, You Ain’t Her Man, Pair Tree, Guardian, Here to Stay, Dancin’ in D; E: No Apologies]