Saturday, February 12, 2011

Orono Music Scene Update

Every single one of the local bands in the Orono area has something to offer that none of the other local bands offer. Besides the amazingly vast array of distinctly talented musicians, each band has its own unique quality that the others lack. It can make nights where multiple bands are scheduled to play at the same time an incredibly difficult decision. Do I go see Chaos Sauce and get a 100,000 volts of sheer Rock Power? Or do I see Frank and the Red Hots for that more carefree, jammy sound that is so reminiscent of summer and Festival Season (!!!)? From Suit Mullet’s smooth, jazzy and almost sinfully addictive sound to the Running Gags extensive range of well mastered musical styles to Restless Groove’s…. well… restless grooves it continually amazes us here at The Way Live Should Be how very, very lucky we are.

Not to say all is well in the area’s music community. It can’t be easy being a local band in Orono right now. With the recent (temporary!!) loss of The Dime as a venue we lost a venue with a great stage, quality sound system, and PLENTY of dancing room. We love Woodmans, a lot!, but there is a serious lack of groove space. And what the Roost makes up in dancin’ room is unfortunately lost in their occasional rude treatment of the bands. No one is perfect, and owning a bar always has to be business first, but we have been thinking the upstairs of the Bear Brew could become a good raging spot for live music again. Remembering a few Funk Thrust shows there from a few semesters ago really helped us to appreciate the potential of that space. Also, in a town affected by a recovering economy and a high percentage of incredibly busy and flaky college students its hit or miss for any band, any night.

All that being said, the show must go on. And go on it does! Last night I made the difficult choice to spend most of the night at Woodman’s with Restless Groove. It must be mentioned that my decision was weighted in their favor. The Way Live Should Be’s very own Kim Morrison joined RG on the saxophone for the cover of Les Claypool’s One Better. It was Morrison’s first ever public show and we just have to say, she killed it. Though a little shy and quiet at first, she grew in confidence and really completed a song that is somewhat empty without the saxophone. RG has played One Better for some time, but Skerik’s saxophone is a defining point of the song and it has never sounded so good by RG as last night. Kim sounded really solid, even natural, and we are confident we will be seeing more of her “on stage”. Great job girl!!

Another good friend, Andrew Downey, graced us with his intelligent and thoughtful rhymes, performing the RG’s and Downey’s newest song the Fritz, as well as a couple others. The Fritz has quickly become an obvious favorite in the audience and features an exceptional fusion between RG musical style and Downey’s personal flow. Downey brings a hip hop sound to RG that makes them a better band over all and gives them a musical side everybody seems to love and relate to.

As a band, Restless Groove’s defining characteristic is all in the name; the groove. From the way they start the show by jamming and building an instant groove to the absolutely irresistible way they get you on your feet they have it all figured out. They interweave their well-loved and dynamic originals with seamless covers and ingenious “Metallys” in a way that leaves the audience member no choice but to unmercifully, continuously Rock Out. Their cover of Tommy the Cat, featuring one of Primus’ most distinctive themes and musical assemblages, is so insanely spot-on that only Primus could do it better. Regardless of who those four individuals are outside of the band, when they play together they become something much more than just the sum of four parts.

What to take away from this (intended to be) short update on the music scene in Orono, ME? Go out and support live music. Live LOCAL music. You will not be disappointed!!

Upcoming shows:
Suit Mullet: March 1st, Bear Brew, Orono.
Running Gags: March 19th Loon Ski Moutain, New Hampshire
And many more popping up between now and then… keep your eyes peeled to the band’s various facebook pages!!!

1 comment:

  1. Excellent article Heather!! This was well written, interesting, and honest in a way that is extremely appreciated! I feel like you gave the bands great descriptions and I like the shout out to (and reviews of) the different venues. Also, as a fan, I thoroughly enjoyed Kim's performance last night and I hope to see more of her and the rest of the bands! Thank you for the upcoming updates!