Soul Roach at McGarret’s-April 7th, 2017

Soul Roach's logo
Soul Roach's logo

Soul Roach
McGarret’s in Buffalo, NY

April 7, 2017

Story by Daniel Regan

To submit a review or story for consideration hit us at lmnandr@gmail.com

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From the YouTube channel of strawberryIsland Dweller:

Western New York has a surprisingly healthy, active Deadhead community. Soul Roach is a fairly recent addition to the family of musicians and fans that love the music and perspective of the Grateful Dead and Jerry Garcia, in particular. However, Soul Roach (named after a fairly obscure Garcia/Merl Saunders instrumental) is no “tribute” act. Rather, the band interprets the music of the Jerry Garcia Band and the Grateful Dead in their own fashion, improvising extended jams that carry the audience through uncharted territory of musical expression, yet never sounding sloppy or lost. This approach seems, to me, to be in the truest spirit of the musicians who provided the original inspiration, Jerry and the Dead.

The core of band – Todd Eberwine on lead guitar and vocals, Mark Hitchcock on drums, and Keith Lindner on bass – was ably augmented for this particular show by Jason Staniszewski on rhythm guitar and vocals and Eric ‘Critt’ Crittenden on keyboards, saxophone, and vocals. Expectations were very high for this show following Soul Roach’s recent performance at Buffalo’s Tralf Music Hall in March (recordings of both shows are available on archive.org), but the band delivered two jaw-dropping sets, leaving the audience members both blown away and anxious for the group’s next performance.

The first set, a sprawling ninety minute-plus minute opus, featured extended versions of “Tangled Up In Blue” and “Midnight, Moonlight” and was anchored by an epic exploration of the sweet-sounding “Sugaree” into a thunderous “The Other One,” with the band returning to complete “Sugaree” at the end. A rousing “Deal” closed out the set, leaving audience members beaming and anticipating the second set.

From the YouTube channel of strawberryIsland Dweller:

The second set did not disappoint either. A soulful “Tough Mama” got things started, with the tasty guitar interplay between Eberwine and Stanisewski driven higher by Critt’s soaring saxophone. “The Harder They Come” began with a mellow feel, but gained energy and momentum throughout, with Hitchcock and Lindner holding the whole thing together while the lead instruments ventured into multi-dimensional solos. The band returned to Earth for a heartfelt “Friend of the Devil” and then cruised through “Let It Rock” and “Second That Emotion,” before stunning the crowd with the signature opening notes of “Dark Star,” a thrill for any Deadhead. “Dark Star” was perfectly suited for a band with such improvisational skills, and Soul Roach delivered, galloping through changes in tempo and tone to the great delight of the crowd. The set closed with “How Sweet It Is,” but the audience demanded more, and Soul Roach encored with a swinging rendition of “Bertha,” leaving many to wonder where all the energy came from at that late hour, and after everything that had preceded it.

In short, it was a very special night of music, and I and the other audience members I spoke with were already eager for the next Soul Roach excursion.

To submit a review or story for consideration hit us at lmnandr@gmail.com

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

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