On Tuesday night, newcomer six piece band Kendall Street Company made a stop at the mini dive bar paradise Garcia’s at The Capitol Theatre, midway on their summer tour up from their home in Virginia. With the help of Port Chester local band Ronald Reggae opening up the evening, the two bands offered a lucky intimate crowd plenty of musically diverse dance jams.
Local band Ronald Reggae can call Garcia’s a home base, as they have entertained many a crowds at the Port Chester bar before, paired with many different types of bands their own sets of improvisational college rock. Reggae on Tuesday night were without their fifth member, the keyboardist that also happens to be the group’s main vocalist, and so the format for the live show was a bit different. Needing to fill in the missing space, Reggae added lots of space—musical space, that is. Long, focused funk rock grooves, held down by the airtight work of Jack Ahearn on drums, were highlighted with frenetic moments of soloing from guitarist Ryan Datino.
Kendall Street Company rocked a big opportunity when they opened the fifth annual LOCKN music festival (taking the stage just before the back to back sets of Umphrey’s Mcgee and The String Cheese Incident) and since then have made their way all up and down the east coast, bringing their unique live creation to audiences waiting to hear them.
Certainly the jam scene may have been waiting for something like Kendall Street Company, who boast a new, vigorous kind of crunchy mix between Americana rock and sometimes chill, sometimes chromatic, disco funk. These days, with the jam scene ebullient with more and more artists all the time, songwriting ability has been all the more appreciated and welcomed in general. Kendall Street Company have this locked down already, with a repertoire of adventurous song material, spanned across a few different studio releases in their several years touring, that dazzles with its amount of fresh creativity.
KSC jams meet together the charming zaniness of Keller Williams with the breezy sense of groove reminiscent of Strangefolk or Widespread Panic. Tunes like “Laura (Sorry ‘Bout The Cobbler)” opened the gates for seemingly any kind of musical style, as well as for a whimsicalness that graces the most spirited kind of live performance. KSC jams are ready at a moment’s notice to invite disco dance and dizzying prog as soon as they are a bluesy chorus or a bluegrass breakdown. Another original, “Cars,” made the perfect springboard for a deft segue into The Allman Brothers’ “Jessica,” while “Long Lost,” blended a bit of everything from Flecktones-esque jazz to straight hard, peaking rock.
But the antics of KSC are something necessary to note, as they are as unpredictable and freewheeling as the groups’ musical abilities. Midway into almost any of their jams, the band were conjuring a contagious energy onto the crowd simply from their own sense of fun and laughter between themselves. Long into the evening, at the conclusion of one particularly fleshed out song, the band was serenading—or maybe shocking—Garcia’s with animal sounds, akin to a John Cage piece, like bird sounds, woofs and caw-caws, alien-ish groans. An interesting choice for rounding out their night at Garcia’s, but given the boldly kooky nature of the group and their music that was displayed all night, it was actually a fitting send off.
Kendall Street currently are making their way back down south, starting tonight with a show at Falling Branch Brewery in Maryland. Next weekend they’ll make a big performance at FloydFest in Virginia, before back up north for dates in Asbury Park and Teaneck, NJ, and Syracuse and Rochester, NY. Use the links below to hear more or find out more information.
Article and Photos by Miles Hurley