The Medicinal Purpose at Hawks and Reed-March 2nd, 2018

Beau Sasser performs with the Medicinal Purpose at Hawks and Reed in Greenfield, MA - photo by Kelly D
Beau Sasser performs with the Medicinal Purpose at Hawks and Reed in Greenfield, MA - photo by Kelly D

The Medicinal Purpose with Tidwell’s Treasure

Hawks and Reed Performing Arts Center, Greenfield, MA

March 2, 2018

Story, photos, and video by Kelly D

Check out the Live Music News and Review.com Facebook page for updates and announcements.

To submit an article an article or review, or to just say hello hit us at lmnandr@gmail.com 

"Land of 1000 Dances" by the Medicinal Purpose, 03.02.18

Ilana and Courtney join The Medicinal Purpose again for Wilson Pickett's "Land of 1000 Dances" at Hawks and Reed Performing Arts Center in Greenfield, MA on 03.02.18

Posted by Live Music News and Review.com on Friday, March 2, 2018

It’s no secret that Western Massachusetts is a hotbed of musical creativity. I constantly like to remind myself of this by going to see as many concerts as possible in local venues, supporting local talent. When I heard from the enigmatic frontman of the Medicinal Purpose, Brother Sal, that he was performing at Hawks and Reed Performing Arts Center in my hometown of Greenfield, MA, with freak-rock troupe Tidwell’s Treasure, I was instantly sold. But the icing on the musical cake turned out to be that funk godfather Beau Sasser (of Kung Fu and his eponymous Escape Plan) would be joining the Purpose on organ and Ilana Morris (the Alchemystics, Ballads and Softcore Porn, Wurliday) and Courtney Parker (rice: an American Band, Rodd Cummings and the Vibrators) would be on tap to provide vocals, I knew this was going to be a night of 413 rock royalty at one of the best venues in the region.

Tidwell’s Treasure went on first. Composed of Tim Jangl on the skins, Sean McMahon (no slouch in his own right, also performing as Workman Song and Ruben Smiley) on guitar and vox, and J Witbeck (sub for the Mary Jane Jones) as bassist. Their “anything goes” aesthetic was on full display that night. I watched Jangl become ever sweatier as he pounded the absolute crap out of his kit while J and Sean traded off blistering vocals. You can easily make comparisons to Primus, Frank Zappa, and maybe even some T. Rex thrown in there.

The DIY aesthetic of Tidwell’s is always a selling point, as are the layers of irony that take a long time to peel off when you try to describe their sound to someone who’s never seen them before. Take, for example, their straight-faced rocking cover of Huey Lewis and the News’ “Hip to Be Square” that they’ve done before, notably with Sean sans shirt at Bishop’s Lounge in late May 2017. There’re so many levels of meaning and hilarity to it that it’s almost not worth explaining- you just have to BE there to witness it firsthand. This time around, some of the more wacky covers were “Total Eclipse of the Heart” and the Full House theme song, “Everywhere You Look,” with Anders Warringer on backup vox from the audience.

The Medicinal Purpose came on soon after. I may be slightly biased, as with Tidwell’s, as I consider everyone who was onstage that night my friends. . . but I dare you to not be impressed with the Purpose’s blend of funk, soul, and Brother Sal’s raspy vocals. They’re great as a trio, and with the addition of Beau, Ilana, and Courtney, the experience was at another level that night. The Purpose is Chris Ball on bass (who also dabbles musically in the Mary Jane Jones, the Alchemystics, Rodd Cummings and the Vibrators, the Beast Mode gang at the Harp in Amherst, and New City Tuesdays in Easthampton) and Jimmy Robitaille handling drums.

Looking in my phone’s notes from the show, I saw that I had written down (what I thought were) the first two song titles: “She Can’t Behave Herself” and “Why Can’t I Feel Alright?” (actually “Otis” and “Sufferin’). I laughed because it sounded like I was taking notes on a troubled soul looking for solace. However, the Purpose was anything but maudlin that night. “Otis,” the first song is a rockin’ original that makes your hips and feet move in time to Jimmy’s thrashing beat.

"Move Over" by the Medicinal Purpose w/s/g Ilana and Courtney

Ilana J. Morris and Courtney Parker sing Janis Joplin's "Move Over" with The Medicinal Purpose at Hawks and Reed Performing Arts Center in Greenfield, MA on March 2nd, 2018!

Posted by Live Music News and Review.com on Friday, March 2, 2018

The addition of Beau Sasser on organ was clearly a perfect fit for the night. The soulful notes of his Hammond, coupled with Chris’ thumping bass and Sal’s wah-wah guitar, seamlessly blended together. The crowded house seemed to agree- it was such a treat to see so many of my pals dancing and thrashing about to our fellow friends up on the stage.

The night achieved peak synergy when Ilana and Courtney came up onstage to lend their voices to the mix. The fact that they’re best friends as well as extremely talented singers lent another degree of camaraderie to a night that was already bursting with good vibes. The ladies helped out with Wilson Pickett’s “Land of 1000 Dances,” whipping the audience into a frenetic frenzy. The spotlight really shone on them, however, when they frankly killed “Move Over,” by Janis Joplin. Janis would have been proud.

The true highlight of the evening was the closer: “Let’s Go Get Stoned,” the seminal blues number by Ray Charles. Ilana and Courtney’s sweet voices mixed well with Sal’s gruff growl as they wailed the song title over and over, and well. . . It’s just good advice. It’s what the band’s name slyly alludes to, after all.

"Let's Go Get Stoned" by the Medicinal Purpose, 03.02.18

The Medicinal Purpose w/s/g Ilana J. Morris and Courtney Parker on backup vox performing "Let's Go Get Stoned" by Ray Charles at Hawks and Reed Performing Arts Center in Greenfield, MA

Posted by Live Music News and Review.com on Friday, March 2, 2018

If you’re reading this thinking, “Damn, I really should’ve showed up for this,” fear not- Beau Sasser will join the Medicinal Purpose once again, this time at Fitzwilly’s in Northampton on Friday, April 6th. All of this was made by possible by Carla Racine, spearhead of the Buzz, a Honey Pot Production. Come out and support the Valley’s music scene- live music is a precious commodity and our wellbeing damn near depends on it in this crazy world.

Check out the Live Music News and Review.com Facebook page for updates and announcements.

To submit an article an article or review, or to just say hello hit us at lmnandr@gmail.com