UBIQUITONE & THE SHANTEE 02.23.02

Living in Northern Virginia, I'd been hearing a lot in our local 'Jam' scene about a DC band called ubiquitone. When I saw they were playing in a local music benefit with a number of other bands, I thought it would be a great chance to check them out. Later, I was pleasantly surprised to see another band added that you hear a good deal about in our Mid-Atlantic area, The Shantee from Columbus, OH. That sold me.

Proof Through the Night VI, held 02.23.02 at Dr. Demo's Taphouse in Arlington, VA, was the latest in a series of benefit concerts inspired by the heroes of September 11, 2001. The concert series started as a way to help the victims of the terrorist attacks on our country and their families. Their focus has since shifted to other local charities, while continuing to honor the heroes of September 11 by making our donations in their names. I was surprised by the size of the place and the amount of people in attendance.

I arrived in time to see the end of Psalmayene24, a cool little trio of guitar, percussion and vocals, kickin’ out mellow reggae-ish licks and rap style vocals. Nice sounding stuff.

Next, ubiquitone took the stage. Made up of electric guitar, mandolin, acoustic guitar, keys, bass, drums and percussion, they're really able to bring out an amazingly intertwining and full sound. The mando, electric guitar, and keys leap out of the music like the leader of a NASCAR race, smoothly taking each others place at the lead while the rest of the guys crank out the steady driving rhythms. The crowd was groovin’ like they were joined at the hip with the vibrations. The hoopers were even out.

What impressed me most however, were the songs. Each one had a foot tapping rift and well fitting lyrics that kept me wondering, "Who's song are they covering here?" By no means did they sound like a rip off band. The sound was their own. I just wondered how this was the first time I was hearing them. How had I not heard more about these guys? The tunes were that good. They've got a unique sound that's difficult to describe. The instrumentation flowed, and fit well with the songs. As the guitars wailed, the key and organ notes danced, and the rhythms grooved on. Check these guys out. Their debut album is on the way.

The Shantee quickly took the stage immediately after. Acoustic & electric guitars, bass, keys, and drums. I had heard more of a regional buzz about these guys and they did not disappoint. Great harmonies, real sing along stuff. If my friend hadn't immediately borrowed the two CDs of theirs I bought, I'd know all their songs already. The songs were acoustic guitar driven with a real personal quality. The drums and bass were rock solid and the electric guitar & keys nicely highlighted the playful grooves. Again the crowd was boogiein'. Paul Simon's "Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes" was a real highlight. I felt like I was in Central Park. Don’t let that sound like they don’t branch off into improvisation. They explored every bit of their well crafted ditties and the energy that came out made the emotions in the songs clear. The Shantee just makes you feel happy. Don’t miss a chance the see them.

I highly recommend ubiquitone, The Shantee, & the On Through In Night benefit. It was full of amazing, little known talent, soon to have quite a following. Go see for yourself.

Bill Bertles
JamBase | Virginia
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[Published on: 3/3/02]

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