Week 1-Strangecreek Battle of the Bands at Bishop’s Lounge-March 6th, 2018

Strangecreek Battle of the Bands

Week 1:  Breakfast Lunch and Dinner, Squires of Soul, Yookeroo

Bishop’s Lounge, Northampton, MA

March 6, 2018

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Week One of the Northampton Battle of the Bands for Strangecreek is in the books.  Three bands came from all over to compete for a spot on the performance schedule of Strangecreek Campout in Greenfield MA over Memorial Day weekend.  From Salem, NH came Breakfast Lunch and Dinner, from Lowell MA Squires of Soul, and local boys Yookeroo from Amherst performed on this showcase of rising talent.

Breakfast Lunch and Dinner are a solid three-piece (drums, bass, guitar with two vocals) unit.  They played a seven-song set that instantly reminded me of Velvet Underground / Lou Reed or regional kingpins Dinosaur Jr.  My wife, upon hearing the recording later remarked that there was some Wilco thrown in there too.  Fuzzy droning guitar, thumping bass and solid time on the drums driving the beat were indications of a solid band establishing their foundation with an eye toward accumulating a catalog of songs over time.  Less angsty than legitimately angry and frustrated expression was delivered with a rocking style.  Me likey.

Full set audio, use the arrows to toggle between songs.

 

Up next: Squires of Soul from the city of Lowell.  The band came in as a six-piece with cajon/percussion, a singer, singer/guitar player, congas/keys/harmonica, bass, and trombone.  I’m not sure if this was specifically to accommodate the size of the lounge, or the fast on and off nature of an evening like this but it worked.  The band blended very nicely, were dynamically appropriate, and showcased their unique sound.  They are a groove band for sure, with a slinky funky take on both their own material and cover songs.  Their take on the Beatles’ She Came in through the Bathroom Window was excellent and helped to center the listener to the approach of the band.  The two vocalists blended together well, and in about a dozen songs you could easily discover their point of view and direction.  Solid guitar solos, excellent work out of both the bass and the trombone and a great overall blending between all of the instruments was key to their delivery.  One of the biggest takeaways for me was the overall sunny and bright attitude of the singer / band leader and how that spreads throughout the band.  Upbeat if not uplifting, Squires of Soul will surely be coming to a club or event near you soon.

Full set audio, use the arrows to toggle between songs.

 

Last up was Amherst’s Yookeroo.  A five-piece unit with standard instrumentation (drums, bass, keys, guitar and occasional dedicated vocals) the band is progressively leaning dipping into elements ranging from jazz to prog to what I always think of as compositional rock.  Every member of the band was an excellent musician, both in terms of their mastery of their instrument and in their ability to feel the song and contribute the whole band sound.  Most of the material was instrumental explorations that allowed for shredding but tasteful guitar solos by Desmond Cornetta who from the audience perspective seems to be the band leader.  Throughout the show a fellow named Sam came up for occasional front vocal duties and had a solid voice, perhaps in the style of Adam Levine but a tad more progressive.  They covered a Childish Gambino song, and eventually Cornetta took the vocal reins for Pink Floyd’s Time.  But the vast majority of the show was tasteful progressive fusion that could bend from the Dixie Dregs to Satriani but was all the while still entrenched in melodic jams.  The band is excellent and if this is the result of some work that they have put in but perhaps still seems to be a relative start to their band life-  I really look forward to where they can take their music.

Full set audio, use the arrows to toggle between songs.

This is a battle after all- so the results were announced at the end of the Yookeroo set.  Each band had some fans in the house vocalizing their preference.  Squires of Soul in particular had a hearty support section who illustrated that they have support but in the end, it was Yookeroo that was chosen to move on to the next round.  The next two Tuesdays will see three new bands each week, and in the last Tuesday of March the winner of each week will battle for Northampton / Bishop’s Battle supremacy.  All four city winners- RI at the Ocean Mist, the Main Pub from Manchester, CT, and Nectar’s in Burlington VT- will all come to Greenfield MA on SAT April 7 at Hawks and Reed to see who ultimately gets the set performing at Strangecreek Campout this May.

Stay tuned here for more reporting of the Northampton Battles.

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.