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.
JamBase | Virginia
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