The Joe Marcinek Band at The New Standard — Night 1
Live music! There certainly haven’t been a lot of safe opportunities since the bottom fell out in March. Fortunately, there are venues across the country working hard to present live music in a responsible fashion. In Florida, for instance, that would include places such at 1904 Music Hall in Jacksonville, Dunedin Brewery, and Crowbar in Ybor City (Tampa). And there are many more who do it right.
Add to that list Dexter’s The New Standard in Winter Park. We’ve seen dozens of great live streams on the inter webs from there with a lot of great music, but finally we made the 100-mile trek for a show. And what a show it was!
This is the first time since March that Joe Marcinek has pulled one of his stunts. We have attempted to document these stunts in detail. Not familiar? Here’s his modus operandi: select three or four A-list players from across the nation, sometimes region, sometimes even locally, and then book three, four, maybe half a dozen shows somewhere, anywhere, in the U.S. By A-listers, we’re referring to people such as Nikki Glaspie, Tony Hall, George Porter Jr., Melvin Seals, Freekbass, Jamar Woods, Wil Blades, Alan Evans…
Marcinek assembled a band for four shows here in Florida, one of the favorite destinations of the Hoosier. Two of them are repeat offenders: Steve Molitz, keyboard master from Particle (and numerous other projects) and percussionist/drummer Jason Hann of The String Cheese Incident and EOTO. He also roped in the bass player from The Revivalists, George Gekas.
Molitz spoke frankly about our current situation (and we will have to paraphrase a bit):
“This is the first time I’ve played in seven months. There’s nothing like this in New York right now. I was skeptical and concerned about the travel, too, but the promise of playing three nights in the same room, where they are doing things right, was appealing. And the food is superb!”
The New Standard is a wonderful new club with a bar open to the beautiful patio beyond, where you could sit and watch the live stream and hear the music if that were your choice. We can also verify that the food was magnificent!
Of special note is the attention to detail in the “production studio,” the room adjacent to the stage, with a soundboard, light board, and video production console, mixing four cameras around the room. Arielle D’Ornellas, a fine visual artist who works in digital media, photographer, and musician herself (Sweet As Folk), did all of the graphic art for the show. Nate Landwer, owner of The New Standard, lead the overall production while running the live video with his team, including Joey Crochet on the Sound and Joe Donnelly on the Lights; his credits including Receptor Lighting and Sound, Premier Global Production, and the House of Blues.
Tables were properly spaced, and most patrons observed the mask rule: if you are away from your table, put on the damn mask! There was one small problem — nothing to do with The New Standard but rather with my ability to attract a certain type of patron. We’ll let Alfred Lord Tennyson assist here:
Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon in front of them
Volley’d and thunder’d;
That would be the people around us chattering all through the show. In retrospect we should have asked to move our table. But seriously, you talked more during the set than during set break! STFU!
Also, there was music…
The band hit the stage at 9:36, immediately launching into Marcinek’s “George Washington,” a tune from his 2016 album Slink we still consider to be the song of the year. Everybody got a chance to stretch out, Marcinek first on guitar, then Molitz on Hammond B3. This was our first opportunity to hear Gekas away from The Revivalists, and it was immediately evident why Marcinek had invited him. Hann also got a chance to romp. There are few drummers anywhere who express as much exuberance through their facial expressions as Hann!
So you have a reformed band and men who haven’t played out much or at all. What should you do next? Why, three brand new songs, of course! “Lyrid” was a powerful rocker, segueing into a bouncy tune appropriately titled “Dance Factory.” It was on the third new one “Yes!” that Gekas really showed his stuff. The night was getting better and better! And of course the quartet played as if these songs were in their regular rotation.
Time for some vocals, and naturally they stepped into “West L.A. Fadeaway,” the Grateful Dead staple. Marcinek has often done full Dead shows, including Dead Funk Summit with George Porter. Molitz rocked out on synths with an effect that mimicked Garcia’s horn sound, very cool. Then he moved to clavinet before the quartet drifted into space, meaning “Space.” Gekas and Hann blew this up before they drifted back to the head of the tune.
To close set one, Marcinek chose the title track from Slink. Molitz again strolled on B3, and Marcinek threw in a “Slipknot!” quote during his solo.
Set two launched with “Mojo,” the opening track from JMIII (2018), and again one of the best songs of that year. Marcinek even threw in a “George Washington” quote. Molitz played electric piano, and Hann got a great feature. That slid into “Soffa,” the third tune from Slink. Molitz moved back to B3, and this one exploded into “Space” and another killer jam.
Marcinek next noted that it has been 20 years since Molitz formed Particle, the monster jamtronic band that has evolved through the years with too few official recordings but a plethora of brilliant live shows on Archive and elsewhere. Speaking of launching, they rocked a stunning version of “Lauchpad,” the title track from the band’s 2004 album debut. This was the Molitz show first on synths and B3 before everybody else got into the jamtronic spirit. Particle fans were truly in orbit.
Marcinek next called up Tommy Shugart, a superb local player formerly a member of The Groove Orient and currently a regular at shows at The New Standard, not to mention some fine sit-ins on Jam Cruise last January. Shugart, also a fine guitarist, played B3 as Molitz slid over to electric piano for a great “Franklin’s Tower.” Molitz and Hann both offered backing vocals.
He had Sugart stay up for one more — and something a bit different from Marcinek: a deep-down dirty blues titled “The JF Blues.” He took a short solo, then Molitz on clavinet, next Shugart on B3. At one point, Marcinek had everybody sit out as he called “Just keyboards.” That was magic!
For the evening’s last guest, Marcinek brought Matt Lapham to the stage. Lapham, from Shak Nasti and the Roosevelt Collier Trio, also plays regularly at The New Standard with Ded Uniklorn. When Marcinek and crew travel to Blue Jay Listening Room in Jacksonville Sunday, Lapham will be on bass.
They jumped instantly into the Grant Green classic “Jan Jan”! It was off the charts! Lapham stayed up for the final tune, “Turn On Your Lovelight,” the song Bobby “Blue” Bland made famous. They were deep into the tune when suddenly Lapham and Hann began to kick it into overdrive, and we have never heard “Lovelight” played at such a mind-blowing tempo! This was a joyous way to close night one of the band’s three-night run at The New Standard.
But that means there are two more nights! RUN, DON’T WALK to check them out! Yes, we suppose you could drive, too! And of course they are live-streaming the shows as well! Find live-stream information at https://tns.vhx.tv/products.
Special guests: FRIDAY: Melody Trucks! SATURDAY: Rochelle Siddiq!
[JMB 1: George Washington, Lyrid > Dance Factory, Yes!, West LA Fadeaway, Slink; 2: Mojo > Soffa, Launchpad, Franklin’s Tower, JF Blues, Jan Jan, Turn On Your Lovelight]
The Sunday show at Blue Jay Listening Room is sold out!