How do you go about ranking shows you’ve seen? How do you compare one amazing set to another amazing set? How do you decide definitely what are the best performances you’ve ever seen?
If you’re smart, you don’t. It’s such a futile pursuit. Of course, that doesn’t stop at least some of us from thinking about it.
My favorite thought is:
“In the moment, as good as it gets.”
It describes a show that has carried me to the very peak of musical ecstasy.
Included in these considerations and deliberations are the ways in which you also generally rank different musical genres. And, because of the way the brain works (mine, anyway), more recent performances often trump older ones.
In my particular case, jamtronica represents the acme. Particle, Lotus, The Disco Biscuits, STS9, The New Deal, Lucky Costello, and other bands of this ilk routinely send me to my very happy place. And so I was excited to get to see Guavatron again. This South Florida quartet has been excellent every time I’ve seen them, most recently in May at Orange Blossom Jamboree. Guavatron played Dunedin Brewery on Friday, September 22nd, opening for The Reality. I was not fully prepared, however.
Their set was stunning. Astonishing. Several quantum leaps past previous shows. Absolutely “as good as it gets.”
Every member of the band was so fully locked in to the groove. Blame drummer Casey Luden if you want, because he was a beast the entire set. There were several points during the set where the tension kept building and building, and I couldn’t imagine how he would do it. Answer: with seeming ease. Just incredible.
I arrived almost half an hour into their set (rats), but I heard one of the most amazing hours of music ever to rock me head to toe. Roddy Hansen’s keyboards and synths were magical, stratospheric. And Conor Crookham, perfectly matched with Luden, offered fabulous bass lines throughout the set.
Finally, there was the innovative guitar work of Adonis Guava. This was such a brilliant team effort. I couldn’t begin to tell you where one song stopped and another started, and I didn’t take any notes; I was too rapt in the music.
[Guavatron: Hot Sauce > Spring Roll, De Funked, Get It On > Xilla, Soap, Ray Gun]
This will give you an idea of what they do. From 04.14.17.
It’s for damn sure you’ll find me on the rail on this Friday afternoon (September 29th) at 5 PM at The Great Outdoors Jam in Lakeland FL.
And what of The Reality, a tremendous band from Tampa who have skyrocketed in the past two years with several excellent albums and some insane live shows (actually, ALL their live shows). We had just seen this great quartet the Friday before Irma came to town.
The Reality plays funky, quirky, twisted, awesome rock and roll. To my ears, there was a new dimension to their already great sound. And maybe it was only to my ears, but the dimension was… jamtronic!
Really. The Reality had a much more electronic/jamtronic sound this set. And first we need to identify Kyle Sareyani, who had already transformed the band’s sound last year when he joined, adding his keyboards, flute and vocals to the mix. His keyboards, especially synths, were what seemed to push it over the edge, so to speak. He was on point all night.
This became my favorite set by The Reality. Caleb Bone’s bass playing and especially his great vocals were front and center. Brian Jones had a great night at kit and has been contributing more vocals. This band has done a superb job having all four members singing more and more.
And of course there was Dan Jones, all arms and legs and trombone and guitar — and hair. He led the band through a series of their funkiest tunes, including “Sweet Tooth,” “Goddess,” “All My Time” and, well, “Get Funky.” His guitar playing was very good when we first saw this band two years ago, but he has developed into a superb string-bender. And he is playing more trombone these days, and he’s really good at that, too.
So I don’t know if they played that way because it was a jamtronic night, but I sure hope they do it again (and again).
We’ll find out Friday, because they play at 4 PM Friday, right before Guavatron, at Great Outdoors Jam.
You know where to find me.