Preservation Pub in Knoxville, you’re on notice. You too, Cary Street Cafe in Richmond. Add Atlanta’s Red Light Cafe and 1904 Music Hall in Jacksonville to that list.
You don’t know? Well, fasten your seat belts, because a force of nature is on the way to you. I should know: I witnessed it Tuesday night in Tampa.
We’re talking about the Aaron Lebos Reality, a funk-fusion-rock band out of Miami. Last night, the band played as a trio with Andres Ferret on bass and Armando Lopez of Electric Kif guesting on drums. Those gentlemen had a great night. For the upcoming dates, regular drummer Rodolfo Zuniga will be at kit.
It is not unfair to say, however, that the center of attention is leader, songwriter and guitarist Aaron Lebos. His jam-packed hour-long set Tuesday at The Crowbar in Ybor City (Tampa) was simply a master class.
The set launched with “Middle of the Road,” followed by “Phoenix” and “Hongs.” The performance, to that point, was very good but not earth-shattering. That changed when they approached “Python Dreams,” a song as slinky as the name implies. Lopez was a beast on kit, and Ferret was freeing up. And Lebos? He began skyrocketing through the stratosphere.
For the duration of the set, I was hearing McLaughlin and Beck (Jeff) and Abercrombie and Michetti and Palmieri and… it was pure Lebos. There were no names left to take, he kicked so much ass. “9 to 5” was a monster, Ferret impressing on bass. Lebos asked the crowd what sort of car you use for a get-away in Colorado. Everybody but me seemed to know the answer was Subaru!
So they played “Hippie Car Get-Away.” Then Lebos said, “This is what it sounds like when a reggaeton band plays jazz,” and out came “Don Zuniga,” a superb tune. And they pulled out all the stops for “Flux Capacitor,” then somehow found another gear for “Goldrush.”
A couple of excellent guitarists (Josh Formanek and Jordan Garno) in the crowd were as awe-struck as I was, I think.
Do yourself a favor. Check this group out. If I’ve overestimated, I owe you a beer.
[ALR: Middle of the Road, Phoenix, Hongs, Python Dreams, 9 to 5, 6 ?? (beastly), Hippie Car Getaway, Don Zuniga, Flux Capacitor, Goldrush]
Aaron Lebos Reality
11/10 Preservation Pub | Knoxville TN w/ The Orange Constant
11/11 Cary Street Cafe | Richmond VA w/ Faceship
11/12 Red Light Cafe | Atlanta GA w/ Moon Chief and the Ground Hounds
11/13 1904 Music Hall | Jacksonville FL