Nucleus | 02.18.04 | Murphy's Restaurant & Pub | Boone, NC

Ask Nucleus drummer Pete (PC) Ciotti what it means to be a musician and he will tell you, "It means sacrifice and giving up good situations in search of better ones." Recently, Nucleus left the small town of Ithaca, NY (less than 20 miles from their hometown). With it they left a slew of friends, some damaged feelings, and subzero temperatures. Nevertheless, it's all part of the sacrifice of trying to get their music out there and trying to keep their dreams alive.

The Wednesday night crowd at Murphy's was sparse and rather preoccupied (college basketball in NC is HUGE), but this did not keep Nucleus from delivering a strong performance and playing until someone told them to stop, well after last call. The first set was short and somewhat rushed. This was more due to a reluctant crowd wanting to watch the game than anything else. Some solid versions of new songs were highlights, especially "Wanderlust" and "Cairo Bub," both from The Vibe Vol. 1. After a short break, the band came back with a new flame. It seemed the excitement of moving towards greener pastures in California made these guys light up and smoke the rest of the evening. The set opener was a fine cover of Zappa's "Son of Green Genes," which was dedicated to the band's enigmatic manager Drew and one of the local hooligans who are both big fans of Mr. Zappa. Later in the set, as the band contemplated what song to play, someone from the back of the room screamed for some Joe Walsh, to which Pete responded with a quick "Stairway to Heaven" tease. Obviously making an effort to relate to this rather withdrawn crowd, the next song was a stellar version of one of Nucleus' catchiest songs "Sooner You Learn," followed by Elvis' "Mystery Train." Both of these had a positive effect on the room that remained until the final drinks were ordered and the lights came up.

The highlight of the evening came when the silence from Steve Webb's mic was broken and he winced out some harmonies during "Vitality." Before this song, one of the audience members asked Mr. Webb a question and Steve seemed almost defiant as he answered him. We may never know what this person said to him, but it must have been inspiring, as he seemed to play with velvety ferocity from that point on.

The depth of sound that these three men create is inspiring and I defy anyone to find a band that puts more soul into every performance, even gigs at dive bars in small tourist towns. The gig at Murphy's was one of two, and to my dismay, I missed the second night. I do not recommend anyone reading this do the same. Nucleus is one of music's most underrated up-and-coming acts. Every opportunity one might get to see these guys will be time well spent. My excuse for missing the second night is sacrifice for dreams, as well. Of course, many of you know I am an avid fan so my opinion is biased. Forced to criticize, I would say the biggest shortcoming this band has is the lack of a light show. This, I am told, will be fixed shortly.

Tall Paul
JamBase | North Carolina
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[Published on: 2/29/04]

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