Monday, April 22, 2002 Volume 67, Issue 135


 
 









 

Tapir's '4/20 at Last Concert Cafe' packed by funk-filled, jazzy jams

By Chris Goodier
Daily Cougar Staff

Hosted by Tapir Productions, Saturday's "4/20 Party at the Last Concert Cafe" offered a seamless festival lineup. Beginning at the coinciding late-afternoon time, the first of several bands quelled crowd anticipation while promising the full bill that followed.

Local funksters Plump started the event via bumping bass textures and wah pedal repetition. Putting out a feel good dance vibe, the band
emitted a soothing pattern of eardrum massage, which continued though the night.

Arriving spectators did well in Plump's jovial cascade of pleasure, absorbing the comfortable party invitation to the point of buoyancy.
Encouraging celebration with a show of gratitude, the band fed off the lingering grins and bounced between cover songs and Shaft-inspired
originals.

Parts of the set had a Skatelites texture of edgy rhythm work over the driving tempo of a standard like "Caravan." By mid-set, noticeable dancers
exposed more surface flesh, advertising tattoos and piercings that would be uncouth in other settings.

An occasional breeze relieved the sultry climate, beckoning concertgoers to shed their garments while their skin developed the glossy buff
characteristic of gyrating bodies. By that time, a nucleus of dancers had converged in front of the stage; its thickness more noticeable with those
concentrating on a balanced symmetry between the horns of the Last Concert Cafe's public address system.

The Greyhounds, which played after Plump, continued the jam-based improvisation in such uninhibited environs. The three-piece combo played
refreshingly eclectic progressive funk. The Greyhounds, which list influences ranging from Wynton Marsalis to Guns 'N' Roses, successfully
meet the desire for more cerebral compositions in jam-based music.

The distinction is accompanied by the role of Anthony Farrell on the piano. Farrell adds color to the band's sound; to this he attributes both
classical and real-world experience.

The Los Angeles-based Greyhounds are gaining notoriety after their appearance on the recent Musicblitz Records compilation Jams: Vol. I,
Don't Call Us Jam Bands, which puts the band alongside respected groove musicians Galactic, Robert Walter's 20th Congress and Vynal.

On the road from Vermont was the "newgrass" slinging Smokin' Grass. The on-stage lineup featured a bassist, solid rockabilly drumming,
hyperactive mandolin strumming and two acoustic guitarists who did more with their hollow bodies than is usually allowed by convention.

While one picker was tearing into convincing electric guitar emulation with the addition of overdrive, the acoustic guitarist positioned his strap
with the sound hole facing upward, laying a steel slide across the fingerboard in lap style while standing up. Without falter, the rhythmic
trade-offs careened back and forth in a dueling frenzy.

Agility and speed were showcased in a late-set tow truck driver-classic rock-vegetable medley. Here, trademark rock styles evolved with
succession, going from Deep Purple to southern rock and culminating in a fiery Iron Butterfly.

Closing the event was the bittersweet banjo finesse of The Tony Furtado Band. With accolades like "Banjo Player of the Year" (twice) and regular
invitations to the Telluride Bluegrass Festival, banjo/acoustic player Tony Furtado had no trouble drawing a very respectable congregation.

It took only two songs to get the crowd back into the high spirits experienced under Smokin' Grass's watch. Furtado's rhythm guitarist unveiled
an abstract bed of accompaniment by tweaking a Johnson combo amp with a digital preamp.

Light-speed banjo runs quickly got contemporary, resembling the assurance of the Dave Matthews Band. But by the time 1 a.m. rolled around,
Furtado corralled the stomp of Appalachia in a fireside spiritual to close out the show with a lasting intimacy.

"4/20 at the Last Concert Cafe" provided yet another opportunity for Tapir Productions to prove their ability to arrange a quality live musical
showcase. 

Other events are posted on its Web site, www.tapirproductions.com.
 
 
 

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