Sofus and Cabin Fever April 2 New Haven by Miles Hurley

STELLABLUESlogoSofus and Cabin Fever

Stella Blues Bar Bridgeport, CT

April 2 2016

by Miles Hurley


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Cabin Fever certainly was a nice choice to start off the night well, for shortly into their opening set, Stella’s had a percentage of its nocturnal crowd moving and jumping with excitement and interest right in front of the stage.

Musically, they’ve got a great niche directly in between heavy, coarse rock and old-style, cow-type funk in the way of The Meters or the Headhunters. The various originals they played, like “Open For Business,” “Measure Up” and “The Newnew” solidified this niche through several different tempos. Punctuating each of them were suave, jazzy-rich solos from both guitar players in the band. A couple of the covers they did were unique takes, such as Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition,” which was upped the appeal by switching tempo mid-song, and later on, to end the set, “Cheap Sunglasses,” not in its original tempo at all but adapted neatly to this band’s style.

But the real wowzer, about mid-set, was a straight, spot-on performance of the New Mastersounds’ “Dusty Groove,” where both the bassist’s slap-feel and the band’s altogether sense for hypnotic rhythm shined through. It conjured the energy in Stella’s to stir everybody up and ready for two Sofus sets to follow.


When I listened to material from Brooklyn-based band Sofus online beforehand, their tunes grabbed and held my attention-crisp, catchy riffs, good vocals, nice melodies to carry the songs through, etc.

Their show at Stella’s, though, revealed a seriously vast amount of live performance ability. The Franklin’s Tower opener, for instance, started off as an average cover, through the main refrain parts. But when it came time to move into jam territory, it truly did-channeling the Dead’s own mastery of full-band improv, each member quickly found a comfortable place around one another and produced a really heady, swirly start to the show.

It was cool, then, to hear Sofus perform just as creatively with their own composed material-which to say again, was neat stuff. In most cases, it first takes well written material to experiment with live and have people enjoy it. Or at least it’s a better bet.

Original songs, like “People Aren’t Caterpillars” and “I Don’t Want to Go to Work Tomorrow” built up these main sections of songs that mixed straight funk with sometimes a bit of blues or a bit of feel-good chorus, into really heavy, peaking endings. In “Like Light,” a personal favorite original of the night, an opening and closing snappy riff bookended a slower middle section of breezy, pretty rock. Also in the first set was one of the night’s highlights, in a cover of Disco Biscuits’ Confrontation, which, even way more than the Franklin’s, got a seriously creative but focused treatment: it tunneled through a long and sprawling jam that shifted every once in a while from measures of outright trance-pulse to spacier interplay.


I happened to personally enjoy the bassist’s playing the most-just because, in the middle of the band’s many moments of either sizzling heat or colorful exploration, if I tuned my ear to focus on this guy I’d hear him throwing down these gnarly lines that bounced off all the rest of the sound so coolly. But every member produced on this level, too: the keyboardist and guitarist both took frequent command to add in impressive musical pieces to the grand puzzle, the latter on an array of sounds, from bare piano, to organ, to vibraphone at one point. And Sofus’ drummer is the underlying technician, who motored the band’s wild progression through each kind of groove with smart precision.

The second set definitely jumped off of set one’s energy- pic after convening back the band delivered a charging groove with more of an old-rock sound, like that of something from the velvet underground. It turned out to be, as said afterwards, a completely improvised jam. One original which followed in this set that I really dug had a Mike Gordon-sounding influence, and it was announced to be unnamed still. I guess this means future Sofus material is in the works, which is a happy thing for veteran and new fans of this phenomenal group.


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To Submit a review or story for consideration hit us at [email protected]