As the first snare beat dropped, Ross--an N.C. State student who swears that the musicians of Sound Tribe Sector 9 "are the absolute best in the world"--leaped from the lower bar at the Lincoln Theatre, nodding his head along to the pulse thumping from the stage even before his feet hit the ground. He joined a throng of some 300 dancers, all moving--and understandably so--to the fantasy-based work of the Georgia-based jam act. Built on nothing more than a perpetual fight to bring some sense of resolution to the tension between the band's pouncing, funk-heavy rhythm section and trance-inducing, layer-of-noise guitar and organ work, STS9 delighted the fans with two sets and a huge encore, turning up the volume and getting noticeably more danceable towards the show's end. One of the better sets in town from a so-called live band all year, hands down.
Speaking of the Lincoln, the 126 East Cabarrus St. club has a slew of tempting shows scheduled for the remainder of the year.
The very functional Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players and Moldy Peach Kimya Dawson hit the Lincoln Thursday, Oct. 16, followed by Hayseed Dixie, The Wailers and Allison Moorer. Top 40 rockers Vertical Horizon, who just released their much-anticipated pop flop Go, play the 26th, followed by Jump Little Children on the 29th and a Brown/Cirkus/Cartridge Family split bill the next day. Gigs with Southern Culture on the Skids, Donna the Buffalo, Derek Trucks Band, Galactic, Stryper and Fun Lovin' Criminals are November's standouts. Look for an announcement in the coming days of an engagement with songwriting wunderkind Howie Day for early November.
"We're not doing anything differently, really. We're just working as hard as we can to continue to bring the best that we can to our stage," Lincoln co-owner Mark Thompson said. "It's just that word has finally gotten around that this is a great room to play."
Due to the club's current momentum and building reputation, Thompson plans to shut down temporarily in December to add a long-awaited upstairs balcony that will increase capacity by 100. Permits are still pending.
"I'm already booking for December, so we're not going to sit around and wait for permits like we did last time," he said, referring to a failed August attempt at adding the balcony that left the club holding only a handful of last-minute dates for a month. "If they come through, great. If not, we've got shows, and we can just do it in May."
A Jan. 21 date with guitar maestro Keller Williams is in the works, as well as early 2004 sets with Taj Mahal (in the superb trio form that played the N.C. Museum of Art this summer) and Vida Blue, the fantastic creation of Phish organist Page McConnell, Allman Brothers Band and Aquarium Rescue Unit bassist Oteil Burbridge and Meters' drummer Russell Batiste. The Jazz Mandolin Project will open.
TCV for the TV?
Bifocal Media recorded The Cherry Valence's packed homecoming gig at Kings two weeks ago. The set--featuring a five-song encore and playing on the same high-octane drums and riffs that have earned TCV quite a live reputation--can be expected for release at some point on CD and DVD. No release date has been set.
Those reluctantly rap-rock boys from Squeezetoy are back at it once again. Fresh off the official release of a recent Cat's Cradle set two month ago, the Raleigh quintet of Omotade Adeniyi, Jason Martin, Zack Johnson and twins Brian and Daniel Dickerson just wrapped up the recording of their latest five-track EP, Contact. The disc, produced and engineered by Eddie Eyeball and Stevie Spice of the currently defunct 2 Skinee J's and mixed by Dug Magirk (Moby, Jennifer Lopez), marks Squeezetoy's most concentrated and consciously arranged studio effort to date, according to Johnson.
"The last one we did--When You're Her...You're There--was material really written and played for the live setting, and we couldn't really get that sound right and capture that in the studio," drummer Johnson told The Independent. "But this one is made much more for listening than for a live sound."
Squeezetoy opted to record their second consecutive EP instead of a full-length debut due to obvious financial constraints and at the insistence of their former manager, who argued that--should the band ink a major-label deal--recording an LP on their own would be a waste of time, money and material that possibly could not have been re-recorded. Now, despite recently departing with that manager, Johnson and Co. feel confident that a record deal is in their immediate future.
"This one is really important, not only that we sell as many as we can, but that the right people hear it," Johnson said. "Eddie is getting it to those people. He's getting it to friends at labels and to the people in Sugar Ray, 311 and Incubus."
This time around, the band decided to play more on the white/black dichotomy of its two frontmen, handing off the contagious refrains to Martin and leaving the rap verses to Adeniyi.
"Settle the Score," the disc's first single, will hit radio in a few weeks. Meanwhile, Squeezetoy plays the Lincoln on Saturday, Oct. 25.
Please e-mail Grayson with your Raleigh news: email@example.com