Party van-goers en route to the Stone Church, complete with magician! Photo by Kara Kharmah
Party van-goers en route to the Stone Church, complete with magician! Photo by Kara Kharmah

Force (aka Garrick Perry)

Bella’s Bartok/The Alchemystics Party Van en route to the Stone Church, Newmarket, NH

February 18, 2017

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What do you get when you combine glitter, games, vans, fans, and Force? Apparently the answer is a whole lot of awesome! Now, I know I was asked to review the recent Bella’s Bartok and the Alchemystics show at the Stone Church but I just couldn’t help but share all the fun we had travelling to and fro, so buckle up and enjoy the ride.

One of the toughest parts of being a touring musician are the countless hours spent travelling to and from venues, festivals and events. The Stone Church is a daunting 2.5+ hours from The Alchemystics’ homebase of Northampton and when we booked this gig, thoughts of travel time floated around the edges of my mind. That’s when Bella’s manager extraordinaire Kara and our good friend Krystal swooped in like angels of arrangement with the plan to grab a few party vans. As soon as I saw this idea swirling around the social media I knew I had to hop onboard. Much like that old R. Kelly and Jay-Z collaboration, this was going to be the best of both worlds for me.  Not only would I have the chance to play with one of my current favorite bands in the scene, Bella’s Bartok, but I could also spend some rare quality time travelling with some fun folks and engage in vananigans! (That’s a Forceism for van shenanigans for those not colloquially conscious.)The Alchemystics logo

The adventures began when I arrived at the designated meeting spot along with fellow Alchemystics, Ilana and Ian I.  I hadn’t paid much attention to all the names in the group chat used to organize the trip so I was quite surprised to see such a delightful mix of friends and family old and new. The terrific tag team of Kara and Krystal had bedecked each van with an array of glow sticks and people were slathering themselves with glitter as we were handed handmade bracelets to tie on. After a bit of hugging, hellos and a quick pre-game pow wow, we all divided up and split into two vans.  We all piled into our respective transports and I ended up in the care of Kara alongside my fellow Alchemisfits. She had spent the last day or so compiling a playlist for our journey and she was quite eager to share with all those assembled. WIth a swift press of “play,” we headed off on our very own odyssey of odd.

(This would be an appropriate time to take note of some gems on this party playlist. Highlights included House of Pain, Bowie, Toto, Sir Mix-A-Lot, Prince, Arcade Fire, Jidenna, and more. In fact if you want to get a glimpse of the musical madness we can share the playlist!)

The first few miles were spent chatting, getting to know one another, and trying to see who fit comfortably where. We shared lots of laughter and libations, then before we knew it it was time for our first pit stop. I’m not sure where we made this stop but let’s just say that the sight of nearly 30 glitter covered, brightly decorated travellers climbing out of our vans was not a normal occurrence round those parts. After we all raided the shelves like snack vultures and showed our IDs, (because apparently if one person wants to buy an adult beverage everyone gets carded) we all met up outside.

I was one of the last ones to exit the store and to my surprise a number of our van mates were crowded around a fanged gentleman sporting a blazer and a bowler who was doing magic tricks. The first trick I missed involved making a lit cigarette disappear through someone’s shirt but the magician asked me for a dollar bill so he could complete one more act of awesome. After making money move, seemingly with his mind, we made him come over to the van to take a picture. He proceeded to make foam bunnies multiply in someone’s hand and then awestruck we had to bid him farewell with some high fives and an Alchemystics sticker.stone church logo

Properly refueled, we set off to complete our journey and to pass the time we played a few rounds of a game called “Evil Minds.” The game is basically a remixed version of Taboo for the mobile generation. While holding your phone above your head so that everyone else can see, the game displays a word, name or phrase and the other players have to get you to say what is displayed without using rhymes or any of the words included in the answer. Anywho, it was awesome and some of the clues and guesses that were given were hilarious. Highlights included discovering that Ian is known for the “cuddle snuggle” (which I guess is different from the correct answer which was cuddle puddle) and almost all of the people from 413 used a reference to “The Platform” (Editor’s Note: a sports bar in Northampton) to try elicit the phrase “basic [b-word]” (tryin’ to keep it family friendly-Force).

Time flew and before we knew it we all arrived ecstatically at the Stone Church. At this point both of the vans were ready to stretch our legs and rage the night away but first there was one last treat for our travels. Kara and Krystal had secured half-priced appetizers for the vans and we definitely took advantage (insert bad pun emoji) of their unique fusion-inspired menu.  Well-fed and in high spirits after such an excellent adventure it was time to throw on the old rap dad pants and kick off the show. At this point I won’t tell you how the actual concert went but any night that starts with such vantics can only get better (it’s like a law of physics or something), so I’ll leave to your imaginations to conjure up all the glittery goodness that occurred. If you are more of the concrete evidence type there are a few video clips available of both of the bands performing or. . . you can come join us on our next adventure together!!

Garrick Perry
The one and only. . .


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.