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Last weekend, I ventured out to the Middle East Downstairs in Central Square to see Gentlemen Hall. Pleasant surprise: also seeing Spiritual Rez. I would not normally say that a reggae-funk-ska band is my thing, but they absolutely blew me (us—me and bestfriendEden) away. Visually (in spite of the fog machine blowing into my face) they were quite interesting, ranging in height from probably 4’10-6’4; they all had different hair (long dreads, short dreads, beautiful blonde straight hair that made me really jealous, brown curly mop of hair like mine), dress styles, and onstage presences. Lead vocalist Toft Willingham (right?! Toft! Willingham!) had unparalleled energy but also a super mellowness and knew how to move like nobody I’ve ever seen, and bassist Jesse Shaternick was focused-but-grooving in a super intense way, and it made his hair wobble along with the bass strings (believe me. It was fascinating.). Van Gordon Martin, he of the longest dreads ever, upped the energy with some long, but very creative guitar riffs, and he and Willingham played off each other well, better than I’ve seen many lead vocal/lead guitar combos. The horns—Kory Stanbury on sax and Bryan House on trombone—tempered the intensity of the guitars and added some much needed vibrant liveliness match the rest of the band. Finally, Ian Miller, on drums, grounded everything along with Shaternick. Whenever I see a live show, I always notice the individual instruments—I like being able to hear each part separately, even as they play with part of the whole. I think it makes for a more cohesive sound, even though that seems counterintuitive.
Anyways, enough babbling. Spiritual Rez was really great, is my point. Some things for you:
More Than I Am
Willingham is a bit whiny on the album version, so here’s live from the show we were at (we’re the short people next to the tall guy in the front right up against the stage, but we’re not the girl rocking out real hard)
Also, free downloads on their myspace page.
Happy Wednesday! Check back next week for the last post of the semester!