These days, it seems that there is a true plethora of bands out there. Just throw out terms like high-energy, deep-fried and tight improv and you’ve got a description for a majority of the bands in the scene. Are there any new bands playing a true collective groove?
The answer to that question comes in the refreshing sounds of Savannah, Georgia’s Perpetual Groove, who played the moe. after-party at The Cotton Club on February 22. It’s safe to say that the band is aptly named. Perpetual Groove seems to have quickly become a favorite of Atlanta’s Jeff Dunham who, with Z93, sponsored the free moe. after-party underneath The Tabernacle. Dunham has built a solid reputation for hosting some of the best talent in the scene on his weekly Sunday broadcasts on Z93. In fact, prior to the Cotton Club show he featured Perpetual Groove on his broadcast from Jake's Roadhouse in Atlanta.
The energy in the air was certainly palpable as Perpetual Groove took the stage immediately following moe. It was the first night of moe.’s short spring tour and fans poured out of the Tabernacle and onto the dance floor of the Cotton Club. Dunham and Z93 had certainly picked a winner.
The band took the stage and encountered some initial sound problems before settling into a feverish “Green Tea” to open the night. This song’s exciting changes immediately grabbed hold of the dance floor as the crowd swayed in time to the band’s stage moves. When the band launched into the reggae section of “Green Tea”, the audience started to dance into a frenzy.
“Green Tea” led into the night’s first vocal number, “TSMM”. I’m not sure what “TSMM” stands for, but the vocals and mellower groove of the song was a nice transformation from the ferocious opener. Guitarist Brock Butler’s voice was clear, full of energy and passion, and refreshingly unique.
The mellowness of “TSMM” was followed by a rocking version of “I Know What I Know” by Paul Simon. This tight change in direction had the crowd singing along and boogying down.
“Sun Dog” seemed to be a crowd favorite. Perpetual Groove apparently had a large contingent of fans from Savannah who had made the four-hour trip just to see the band, many bypassing the moe. show. Bassist Adam Perry was particularly impressive on this number.
Other memorable tidbits of the show were the final few minutes of “Breeze,” a swirling finale of song reminiscent of the grand finale of a fireworks show on the 4th of July. “Pusherman” was a well-suited cover for this band that is extremely adept at creating a collective groove.
The highlight of the show came during “Playground,” a song that creates images of a carousel at an amusement park. Some might argue that “Macumba” was the true highlight of the night, and a case could certainly be made for that. “Macumba” verges into a “Thug Jam” with Butler and keyboardist Matt McDonald trading off some hip-hop lyrical jams. This certainly seemed to be the highlight for the crowd who were enjoying their journey through so many different musical landscapes. The personality of Butler is what makes the “Thug Jam” a success, and will just have to be witnessed in person.
The show finished with a newer Perpetual Groove song called “Robot Waltz.” This catchy number contains many impressive, powerful musical and lighting changes. The climatic ending of “Robot Waltz” built the groove into an animal of sound and the final change seemed to suck the bottom out of the tune, giving fans a chance to finally catch their breath.
While the song is very catchy, it didn’t seem to be the winning choice for a final song. Due to time constraints, however, the band was unable to perform an encore, despite many demands from the audience.
All in all, many new faces were exposed to a band encountering rapid success. I must mention that many in the crowd (including me) went home with a Perpetual Groove disc, seeing as the band hands out free live CDs at each show. At this particular show, the band gave away over 400 of these CDs, guaranteeing that many more new fans will be joining the devastatingly different attack of Perpetual Groove.
JamBase South Carolina Correspondent
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