GROOVIN' TO THE BEAT OF A SPRING DRUM

After nearly two years together, the collective known as Perpetual Groove is finally breaking out of the Southeast. After a short Midwest stint last October, the Savannah, Georgia-based quartet is poised to return this spring along with a trip into new territory: the Northeast. But Perpetual Groove is not alone; after two weeks of going solo on the road, the band will join The Big Wu to support its spring journey.


By Adam Gulledge
“We’ve concentrated on building a solid fan base here in the South for the past two years, making sure that we have had a stable foundation to launch out from,” says Perpetual Groove manager Ben Ferguson. Indeed, the young band has been busy working the Southern circuits in its career so far. Regular tour stops include Atlanta, Athens, Asheville, Charleston, Raleigh, Tuscaloosa, Savannah, Statesboro and many “smaller towns and markets that sometimes don’t show up on the map,” quips Ferguson.

The year 2003 has been a busy one already for Perpetual Groove. After playing a sold-out New Year’s Eve show with fellow Georgia-based jammers Moonshine Still, the band wasted no time in getting back out on the road. “The highlight so far this year has been the Langerado Festival in Ft. Lauderdale,” guitarist Brock Butler says. “It was a really great afternoon, the crowds were fantastic and the line-up was pretty diverse, there was something for everyone. We had a great time playing.” After a run through South Florida, the band headed home for the huge throw down that is St. Patrick’s Day in Savannah. A mini-Mardi Gras that can last up to a week, these festivities have been known to attract up to 750,000 out of town travelers. A two-night stand at its hometown club J.J. Cagney’s allowed the band to have fun with the set lists, throwing in some funny, if not meaningful, covers like the Talking Heads "Naïve Melody" and Weezer’s "Sweater Song."

In April, the band will head North on its second venture through the Midwest, and then it’s on to the Northeast. Tour stops include Chicago, Indianapolis, Bloomington, Urbana, Athens, Lansing, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, New York, Boston, and many others. The band is looking forward to getting out of the South for a while and into some new markets. “It’s always a challenge to maintain when you are out of your home region and breaking into new markets,” says keyboardist Matt McDonald. “You’re used to playing to a full room and then suddenly, you find yourself building a new market. Regardless of if there are 800 people or twenty, we always try to deliver a solid performance for the audience.”


By Adam Gulledge
After the spring tour with The Big Wu, Perpetual Groove will slowly start making its way out West for its first appearance at the High Sierra Music Festival, but not without a little Southern love. The band is slated to perform late night at this year’s SmileFest in Union Grove, NC. “We love the festivals,” says bassist Adam Perry. “Not only is it a blast to play them, but you get an opportunity to see some really great acts as well. When you are on the road all the time, rarely do you have an opportunity to catch another live show that is not your own. I’ve really met some incredible people on the festival scene and I’m looking forward to SmileFest and High Sierra this year.”

Some folks discount a band that has the word “groove” in it, but there is no name more fitting for this band than Perpetual Groove. The perpetual aspect does include connotations of monotony or boredom, but their groove is far from that. Although each jam is layered with textures created by McDonald, Butler and Perry, they are meticulously controlled throughout each song in order to accomplish the resounding crescendos present in most of their jams. Drummer Albert Suttle does a masterful job at holding everyone together with his disciplined rhythms. About half of the Perpetual Groove catalog is composed instrumentals, and each show alternates between an even mix of instrumentals and vocal-based songs. The vocal songs range from serious to hilarious. The group’s debut album, Sweet Oblivious Antidote, was released just this year, and Perpetual Groove's broad range is represented well on this album. The diversity from song to song is as fresh as the band’s live shows, but the album stands well on its own, offering fans a different experience from what they can see on any given night with Perpetual Groove.

Visit the Perpetual Groove website and JamBase to check out upcoming dates. If you see them coming through your town, make an effort to check them out; you might also want to give this band a listen. For live downloads, head on over to: La Casa Bien - Live SHN downloads. Music is also available through the etree archives.

http://www.pgroove.com

[Published on: 3/27/03]

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