Colorway and Flux Capacitor

Root Cellar Greenfield, MA

September 03 2016

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Saturday of Labor Day weekend can be slow at clubs, as most people are at barbecues, festivals or camping.  But when one of our favorite bands is coming from out of state, we’re happy to go visit a club, especially one as welcoming as the Root Cellar in Greenfield, MA.

I’ve had the good fortune of seeing Flux Capacitor somewhat frequently this year (Strangecreek, Bonnaroo) but given how their sound is developing so rapidly from show to show, every show is a worthwhile look.  We got to the club after a real nice dinner at Thai Blue Ginger across the street and some walking around Greenfield and Turner’s Falls just as the opener Colorway was starting.

Colorway Colorway is a three piece band out of the Pioneer valley led by F Alex Johnson- formerly of the Drunk Stuntmen who were a popular band out of the area a few years ago and still play every so often, albeit without Johnson. I knew almost nothing about them prior to this moment, so I looked on as they got started- a three piece with guitar, bass and drums. Alex plays guitar and sings lead while Riley Godleski provides drums and sings backup. Matt Clegg plays bass. Their sound is a mixture of rock, pop, americana, and well- Alex.

For their hourlong opening set the rhythm section rolled along supporting the ten or so tunes with ease while Alex supplied some fiery and oftentimes cathartic guitar chops. He knew when it was time to let loose and let it flow but wasn’t above reeling things back to provide some seriously catchy hooks–both on guitar and in his vocals–when it was time to settle down. I didn’t notice cover tunes within the set but fans of indie rock and the grittier end of americana will like this band, as the small crowd that was gathering in the root cellar early that night did.

After a short break to change over Flux Capacitor took the stage.  The introduction came over a tease of Led Zeppelin’s Thank You but even before you were sure that was happening, the band turned on a dime into their own instrumental original.  What came forth for the next two hours was nothing short of an aural onslaught, a trio operating at the full power and potential of any rock band.  The brothers Specht performed as if they were in front of forty thousand instead of the forty or fifty people who were there celebrating with them.

The second song is a new favorite of mine, a shorter tune called Radio.  I had a nice chat with the guys before the show and it seems likely that this is going to be their next single from an album that we can expect within the next six months or sooner.  The rest of the show is a bit of a blur because of the never ending stream of tastiness that was coming from the band.  They were able to deftly mix longer pieces like Unite that weave and jam and go from one plateau to the next with shorter pieces like Freedom Killers which like Radio are four minute songs that unfurl a very specific lyrical and musical message in a concise fashion.

This appears to be the new direction of Flux Capacitor- to mix in exploratory jams while also trying to master the art of the more direct song, and I really for one was totally turned on by it.  The sound was thick and lush- with a constant rally between lead guitarist Pete Specht who was agile as he leapt from vocals to guitar solos to rhythm guitar without a problem and his younger brother Mike whose double duty on keyboards reflected the normally held position of two band members.  He covers the low end with his left hand so ably that you would never guess that there is not a bass player in this band, while his right hand and triggers and loops illustrate a deft mastery of keyboards.  Mike even contributed a vocal tune for the first time that I have seen, and it was a great way to mix up the set.

Jason Specht is like one of those paintings in a 1970s horror movie spoof-  his eyes are constantly flicking between his two brothers to continue to enhance the rhythm.  Back and forth, back and forth, a virtual tennis match played out in his eyes while he drove the band from one jam to the next.  He flirts with the jamtronica back beat but never jumps too far into it so as to really immerse himself in that sound- instead opting for a host of different sounds and beats and not staying riveted to that one beat.  He also has a great electronic pad that accesses a great diversity of sound.

As a reflection of their set at Peach festival which included the entirety of the Doors first album, the band broke into Break on Through late in the set.  This is a perfect choice of a cover song as it is another band with a keyboard player covering bass lines, and the vocals are a perfect match for Pete’s range.  There were a few more songs to close out a marathon set that stretched beyond two hours.

I spent the entire ride home, and thank goodness my wife was driving, declaring how awesome Flux Capacitor is.  It’s somewhat ironic to me that the band was able to deliver one of the best shows I’ve seen the band play, ever, in front of a small but riveted crowd on a holiday weekend.  I somewhat drunkenly stated that Flux may be the best ‘undiscovered’ band in the country.  In the light of day and a state of sobriety I don’t back away from that assessment.  Run, do not walk, to see Flux Capacitor immediately.

Video by F Alex Johnson

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

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