Frequinox :: 08.06.04 - 08.09.02 :: Northern California

Have you ever been at a party where there's a plethora of mixers and all types of booze and you find yourself saying "fuck it," blindly splashing them all into one super-strong, knock you on your ass concoction that leaves you slurring, slobbering and smiling like a jack ass? Well my friends, welcome to Frequinox. Consider these players your top shelf liquors, the ones that cost a bit more, but make up for it in that initial sip. As you tip back your head and let it fly, you can feel your gut smothered in warmth and just the right amount of grimace.

Nobody knew just how far this thing would go, not even the musicians themselves. But you can assume that when big leaguers like Robert Walter (20th Congress) Stanton Moore (Galactic) Robert Mercurio (Galactic) Will Bernard (TJ Kirk) and Donald Harrison (The Headhunters) get together you'll end up with a tightly wound funk train. Well, you know what they say about assuming, and this music was a like an ass-spanking, a good hurt that stung and soothed at the same time.

With only four nights to feed the beast, these cats got to work quickly, and within minutes the throwdown was in full effect. In a time where funk is an ever-growing sound and bands are popping up faster than you can say "Clear Channel Sucks," there is something to be said when well-accomplished musicians come together with no rehearsal time and play like it's been their weekly gig for ten years.

Robert Walter with Frequinox
Robert and Will have shared the stage so many times that their energy together just flows. Robert behind his B-3 is one of the most encouraging sights to behold. In his eyes you can see the infinite possibilities he gets from only a glance at the keys. Will Bernard has turned plenty of heads through his endeavors in the 20th Congress, TJ Kirk, and his current outfit Motherbug. Crafting his own sound and style, Will is one of the Bay Area's finest axe men, and his ongoing duels with Robert are only helping cement the deal. These guys just know how to play with each other. It's as if they're dancing together, complementing each other in and out of the pocket, and stepping back to let the other shine at that right moment. Layer this with Harrison's sax and you have yourself something truly special and goddam F-U-N-K-Y.

Stanton Moore and Donald Harrison
So there you have the night starting off with blistering organs, searing high altitude guitar, and some supremely crafty sax work. Now add the rhythm section by a small New Orleans band called Galactic. Stanton Moore is as much a stunt man as he is a drummer. This cat will bounce behind that kit like he missed several doses of his Ritalin, using his whole body to play. I doubt if he even gets much sitting done in that chair, 'cause it seemed to me he was standing or hovering the whole damn time. Robert Mercurio has already proven himself to be one of the scene's premiere groove slingers, and tonight he thrashed deep tones out of his bass, as though he was on a bigger conquest to drive every set of hips in the house that much further.

There aren't too many supergroups that launch a mini-tour in the summertime, and if they do, it's usually at a festival setting or a heavily promoted tour of theatres and concert halls. In this instance, Frequinox played by their own rules, gracing venues that specialized in a more intimate vibe, catering to the needs of the music snobs that demand excellence. I can't think of a better example of what it means to be the best of the best: Not only is the band comprised of elite players, but it also left little barrier between the crowd and the music. For diehard fans, this was the ultimate chance to shape where the music was going--the night was as much a surprise to the fans listening as to the men creating it.

Frequinox was on fire at each of their four shows, and by the last night the music far surpassed anyone's expectations. Following the success of these performances, there's little doubt these guys will appear on stage together again. This lineup was initially spawned as a side project, but I'm predicting it's more substantial than a mere one-off to everyone involved.

Just when you thought summer was winding to a close, these guys go and do something extreme. Frequinox is here and they aren't messing around. Look out for them to hit up the East coast in the coming months.

Matt Layton
JamBase | San Francisco
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[Published on: 8/29/04]

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