Swift Technique at Arch Street Tavern-March 10th, 2018

Swift Technique funks up Arch Street Tavern - photo by Kelly D
Swift Technique funks up Arch Street Tavern - photo by Kelly D

Swift Technique

Arch Street Tavern, Hartford, CT

March 10, 2018

Story, photos, and video by Kelly D

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Full show audio: use the arrows to toggle between songs.

I came to a pretty crucial realization in my lifelong passion for music this weekend, thanks in part to Swift Technique, a veritable clown car of talent based in Philadelphia.

As they brought the groove and funk to Arch Street Tavern in Hartford, I was compelled to spend most of the evening dancing along with them.

Synesthesia, simply put, is what happens when wires get crossed in the sensory part of your brain and you can “taste” colors or “see” sounds. It’s different for each person who has it. When it comes to live music, I realized this past weekend that I “feel” the rhythm and vibration in my body and I am physically compelled to work it out on the dancefloor. Swift Technique proved to be a catalyst to bring out my synesthesia of movement manifesting from music.

An alarming amount of sideeye

Full disclosure: I have been their publicist for a few months but since they’re from Philly and I live in Western Massachusetts, their show in Hartford was the first time I had a chance to see them live. However, that doesn’t mean you should take my word with any sort of grain of salt- what I’m telling you is starry-eyed for good reason. These guys are the real deal.

Fronted by lead singer Chelsea ViaCava and manager/bassist Jake Leschinsky, Swift Technique has been bringing sassy brassy funk to the Northeast and beyond for a decade now. Other crucial components to this groove machine: Ian Gray on trombone and vox, Greg Rosen on trumpet and vox, Jay Davidson on keys, Andy Bree on guitar, and Johnny Perry on drums. This was their first time in Hartford, so my boss (who happens to be their booking agent) and I took a little road trip to go meet them and see what they had to offer.

It was, as they say, a good life choice.

The night kicked off with “Lucky Bump,” an original song. If a song could encapsulate an entire band’s ethos, this would be it. It’s fun and sexy, with a tight beat that begs you to dance along with it. Jake’s bass line reminded me of a rubber band being plucked, wobbling along through the song as Chelsea broke into synchronized dance moves with Greg, who was next to her onstage. My face cracked into a huge goofy grin as I watched them shimmy back and forth and lock ankles, jumping around in a circle- these guys actually legitimately like spending time together. You can just tell.

. . . And that was just the first song! Before I even had a chance to catch my breath, they began “Livin’ in the Kitchen,” a snarky original that gave the horn section a chance to blare the bells of their instruments directly into my soul. I was in synesthetic heaven, lining up different parts of my body to different components of the song. And we were only two songs in?!

Up next: a spirited cover of Morris Day and the Time’s “Jungle Love” with an interlude of the Sheila E. song “A Love Bizarre” thrown in for good measure. Bass solos, a self-titled banger wherein the band members all crouched to the ground before the music swelled and they all bounced up to bellow “SWIFT! . . . TECH-NIQUE!”, and a song celebrating their City of Brotherly Love, “Funkadelphia,” came next. They know their roots and aren’t afraid to celebrate them. They slowed things down here and there for a chance to have each member show off their respective chops and for Chelsea to belt or croon, but overall this is a band that will get you moving and keep you going till the wee hours of the morning. . . Themselves included! What other band celebrates the humble trombone like Swift Technique?

One of the main things I dug was how they covered a fairly wide variety of genres and put their own personal twist on them: the aforementioned “Jungle Love,” Allen Toussaint’s “Yes We Can Can,” and a sparkly “D.M.S.R.” by none other than Prince were in-brand. However, they surprised us with a funkified “Psycho Killer” by Talking Heads and ended their show with, of all tunes, “Immigrant Song” by Led Zeppelin. Maybe next they can put their own spin on, say, “Enter Sandman” by Metallica? Just a thought.

In a fun bit of coincidence, March 10th also happens to be Jake the bassist’s birthday. So while “Immigrant Song” might’ve ended the night officially, the other band members turned a goofy rendition of “Happy Birthday” into a showcase for the bass-man to jam out on his special day.

Okay, okay, yes, they’re a freakin’ sonic and visual treat (let’s just say they’re easy on the eyes) but what also grabbed me is that their camaraderie is vastly obvious compared to some other party bands.’ You can’t fake love- and Swift Technique doesn’t even try. Catch them- and dance with them- in the coming months in a town near you. . . You’ll be glad you did.

To submit a story or to just say hello, email us at lmnandr@gmail.com

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