Perpetual Groove | 12.31 | NC

Words & Images by: James E. Young

Perpetual Groove :: 12.31.07 :: Neighborhood Theatre :: Charlotte, NC

Perpetual Groove - Acoustic :: 12.31.07
For two nights Perpetual Groove and their fanatical fan base, lovingly known as "Perps," populated the Neighborhood Theatre on their New Year's run. While some folks went to Atlanta for Widespread or STS9 or to NYC for moe., Perps from all around the country flew, drove and hitched to rock out with their favorite band and get that annual New Year's fix. While not yet an arena filler, P-Groove's intimacy with their fans made this more of a party with friends and family as opposed to just another concert. Instead of hiding backstage, the band could be found drinking with the tapers or chatting with fans outside the venue long after the show had ended.

However, the smaller venue took nothing away from the production value. At my first PGroove show four years ago, the lighting rig instantly captured my attention and has since grown into a setup almost as valuable as the band itself. Lighting designer Jason Huffer deserves our praise for creating a visual counterpart that highlights the brand of electronic funk rock that Brock Butler, Matt McDonald, Adam Perry and Albert Suttle play so masterfully.

Brock Butler :: 12.31.07
In previous years, the band has played two set shows, saving the three set marathons for special gigs and their annual Amberland Festival. This year the audience was treated to an acoustic first set each night, which included blistering versions of "La Casa Bien" and the debut of Pink Floyd's "Mother," one of two new covers offered at these shows. Will Bradford of SeepeopleS joined them on NYE to sing lead on a remarkable version of U2's "Bullet the Blue Sky."

As the midnight hour approached, the band started a powerful "Mr. Transistor," and with only a few minutes to New Year's Day, the fire alarm rang out. At first the audience cheered thinking it was announcing the impending event, but as it continued without a countdown it seemed we might need to evacuate the building. The band never broke their stride. Should you decided to listen to the soundboard recordings at Archive.org, you can hear the "Mr. Transistor" and in the middle the band played a "Fire Alarm Jam" while the staff scrambled.

With the fire alarm halted and anticipation growing, frontman Butler and keyboardist McDonald counted away 2007. The moment hit, lights flashed and tinsel flew everywhere as they broke into "Auld Lang Syne." Their lovely girlfriends brought out champagne for a few toasts, and then with minimal delay they ripped back into "Mr. Transistor," driving hard and telling us that with the New Year we can expect new and exciting things. They encored with fan favorite "Macumba," where Butler strung together a rap medley and stirred up a frenzy that transformed us into something like schoolgirls at a Beatles show. Since one encore is never enough, they stayed on for an intense version of "Save For One," a song that debuted at last New Year's run and has matured into a powerful ballad.

Butler & Perry :: 12.31.07

Perpetual Groove :: 12.31.07 :: Neighborhood Theatre :: Charlotte, NC
Set I (acoustic): It Starts Where It Ends, Under Lock and Key, Thinkin' Those Thoughts, Long Past Settled In, Mother*
Set II: Sundog> Breeze, Crapshoot, Three Weeks, Bullet the Blue Sky**
Set III: Mr. Transistor> Auld Lang Syne> Mr. Transistor, All Night Long, TTFPJ, Teakwood Betz, A Day the Way, Speed Queen
Encore: Macumba, Save for One
*First time played, Matt on acoustic guitar
**First time played, with Will Bradford of Seepeoples on vocals

Continue reading for more images of Perpetual Groove on NYE...


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