Monday, February 6, 2012

Concert Review: ROSTER MCCABE (2-2-12)

“Roster McCabe” gives visions of the Future
By: Kevin Kenly Photography

The Top Hat Lounge

2-2-12

                 So scenario is Stevie Wonder, a young Umphreys McGhee, new style Lotus, and the older better Slightly Stoopid walk into a dark foggy mysterious musical forbidden cave. Who knows what forces are at work here but after a good say 2 hours out walks only one band with the name Roster McCabe. Well believe what you want true story or myth, but the band Roster McCabe and what they have created is not.

I have seen this band once before over a year ago at The Top Hat as well. Last time they were here they gave Missoula everything they had and the crowd was as small as The Top Hat sees during a Tuesday night. Huge testament to the band not caring, but just wanting to play for the people that showed, and it worked because I saw ninety percent of those people back at the second show with more friends.  Roster then and Roster now is like seeing two completely different identities. Roster now after watching them jam-funk the roof off Thursday night (2-2-12) at The Top Hat laughs at Roster then. Not a mean laugh, but a wow when you look back at us its crazy how much we have changed for the better in all aspects. We were once good but know we are on the verge of something even more then great, well the more then great may have already been established.

By: Kevin Kenly Photography
                Roster McCabe came out on stage in jam fashion, don’t say a word to the crowd,  just get to your spots, sit down, give everyone a nod in the band expressing that I am ready, and ok let us play some music. They opened better and harder than I ever would have thought which means as a fan I am already into this concert more then I was the last one. I  like to call it hooking the fan, and I had been hooked. “Stargazer” was the song they opened up with, and to be honest it caught me off guard. I went into this show expecting to be the one person who expected what to happen, and just like that first song was the unexpected and set up for the night to come. Roster brought me to the door step with this opening song, it started mysterious and crazy and with in an instant Alex Steele was letting his R&B/Reggae vocals rip through the speakers. Stargazer is a premier jam song to watch live, and the version they played to open this show was an array of different sounds, musical levels, and just played forever in the most fashionable way. The intro was a growing climaxing of drumming by Jeff Peterson and electric guitar by Michael Daum bringing the crowd in closer before going into the lyrics of the song. Following this was a middle instrumental jam session that let all five artists get involved with the crowd and get comfortable with the night. The thing that stuck out the most in this version for me was the contribution of Drew Preiner, who was dropping the beats with the DJ board and controlling the synthesizer keeping “stargazer” at an old school funk jam level.  This version and this song was one of the top show opening performances I have ever seen, it showed off all the Roster McCabe is; Mixes of funk, reggae, old school pure guitar rock, electronic, a bit of pop, great solos by all artists, ten plus minute song, and looping the song and lyrics back after jamming as if they all have their PHD in jam. Next was a song called “The Traveler”, which is their most known song to people who are RosterHeads.  The Traveler is a lyrically great song that gets the crowd involved throughout.  With its way more reggae vibe then their other songs, Scott Muellenberg gets to show off his bass jams keeping the bass line rolling throughout.  I noticed most of all during this song how much Roster McCabe has improved throughout the year. Alex’s vocals sounded as crisp as ever, Michael Daum had an amazing step up to the crowd shred session with smiles and face expressions all around, Drew Peiner busted out the other guitar for a little duel session, and Jeff Peterson was shadowed in the background only seeing his fro in the mix of fog and light production keeping the drums rolling. Just as The Traveler was ending its eight minute plus run, the band took a different pace and went right into a song called “Drift”. The band starts this song in heavy rock fashion with all kinds of different sounds before Alex takes over on the keys with some nice mellow funk. Lyrically this may be my favorite song talking about drifting away with someone and the places real or imaginary you may or can go. Daum as he does in almost every song shows off why he is one of the premier guitar players around literally making you float with his sharp piercing old school sound and as they are rocking it out together they make an incredible transition right into covering Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir”. This cover is to say the least, quite the flashback. They have conquered covering this song and giving it the feeling of how loud, energetic, and in your face Led Zeppelin used to be. Steele puts the vocals of the song in a place that Robert Plant would give the tip of his hat for approval. A trio of new songs followed this, and personally as a RosterHead (Proclaimed myself one for life after this show) I was so stoked on hearing some new material. The three new songs played were “923”, “Take A Breath”, and “Paper Crown”. All three had their certain style, and my personal favorite was “Paper Crown”, it had so many open spots for jamming, the best guitar shredding I saw all night, as well as a little “Traveler” guitar teaser thrown in there for good vibes, and the idea that Roster still is looking to explore these songs should give any RosterHead happy thoughts of what is to come.  “Blindsided” from their newest CD Through Space and Time was then played, followed by a random out of nowhere cover of Ace of Bass’s “The Sign”, and somehow Roster pulled it off and made it ok, maybe even made it kind of cool. The last song played before the encore was “Spark a Light”, I thought here Jeff Peterson on the drums really took it to another level with a great drum solo at the beginning. This song seems to be the sister song to “The Traveler” with its reggae core but added to it is more intensity like being at a Umphreys McGee show and of course jamming in complete Roster style. The crowd earned its encore wanting more and Roster McCabe came back out first taking a picture of the crowd with Daum jumping off the stage and joining the fans for a snap shot. The encore was what I expected “Soar”, and it is exactly what this song does it soars. This is Roster’s highlight instrumental jam song right now, and just to show how popular Roster is and is going to get, I heard many people wanting them to play different songs such as “Acron & Acrobats”, “Burn Bright”, “Night Pheonix”. This is exactly what a jam band wants. You want an archive of songs you jam and having songs on demand from a crowd is a sure sign of great things to come. “Soar” was of coursed played for twelve plus minutes with each member making sure you remembered what they brought to the stage, and as the song ended you could tell they had worn out the Missoula crowd who mostly didn’t know what to expect but got a dose of something they deserved and will most likely become addicted to.
By: Kevin Kenly Photography

By: Kevin Kenly Photography
  Roster McCabe is my call for the next big jam band. They already have control of the Midwest and seems as they tour more and more every year Colorado & Montana are official Roster states. Festivals all-around should be calling this band on a weekly basis hoping to book them. They truly were the most improved band I have seen in the last year and I look forward to seeing more shows and covering them for years to come. The Jam mix they have put together is truly the melting pot of music. You will get a taste of everything, and it all tastes so good, but will always leave you craving for more. The archive of music will only grow as well as their fan base and before you know it we could be caravanning with a huge group of RosterHeads following them along there Northwest amphitheatre run of 2014, think about that. Well played Roster McCabe, well played
Newest CD:  Through Space & Time

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Big Thanks Go out to  : Roster McCabe - www.rostermccabe.com, The Top Hat Lounge - www.tophatmissoula.com, Kevin Kenly Photography - http://www.facebook.com/pages/Kevin-Kenly-Photography/316666751709264

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