Confluence, Part 1: Joe Marcinek and Brock Butler at Dunedin Brewery
A confluence of events occurred two nights in a row, one I could not have predicted; this confluence was so delightful. I put no stock in the concept of “best” or “greatest”; I fully support “favorite,” because everything is personal.
Over the course of Friday evening and Saturday evening, I heard three artists perform my favorite ever sets from each. I know that recent memory often trumps older ones, but I’ll stand by this. Confluence, Part 2 covers Roosevelt Collier and Electric Kif at CJH Wanderlust.
Friday, November 13, brought another intimate, socially-distanced show to Dunedin Brewery. That venue always brought top national, regional, and local musicians in for fabulous shows with no cover charge, pre-COVID-19. Now, of necessity, tickets are sold, and a max of 30 patrons are allowed in for seating at tables. They do broadcast the music for patrons sitting outside and often live-stream at least one of the sets.
No Friday the 13th could have predicted what would unfold with the pairing of Joe Marcinek, the man who roams the country putting together top-notch bands of A-listers of all sorts, and Brock Butler, the man behind jam kings Perpetual Groove and a fine solo performer as well. They were supported by two ace local musicians, Vinny Svoboda on bass and Yral ‘datdudeondrums’ Morris; both play now with superb multigenre group Anthill Cinema, and both are constantly in demand.
Let me cut to the chase: I have never observed, up close, two superb guitarists working so tightly in tandem. There was a bit of harmony work, but often it was both of them soloing at each other in an incredibly meaningful way. I’m sure I’ve heard similar pairings, but I’ve never before been ten feet away from them. I am still in awe. It was also amazing to see Marcinek, always the band leader, letting Butler handle the vocals and displaying his stunning range of rhythm guitar pyrotechnics.
They opened with a funky figure that turned into The Staples Singers’ “I’ll Take You There.” Butler had a cool Leslie effect on his guitar. He and Marcinek both soloed. From there they went straight-up funk with a recent Marcinek tune, “Dance Factory.” Butler’s solo scorched, followed by a massive outing from Svoboda. Butler’s wah-wah rhythm accented Marcinek’s solo.
Marcinek moved to keyboards, playing organ on Butler original “If Ever Even Then,” a really fine song. Morris then pumped up the jam, Latin-style, as they moved into one of Marcinek’s signature tunes (they played all three!), “Mojo,” the lead track from his album JMIII. Svoboda and Morris just crushed this one; Morris is a true force of nature. They were absolutely the correct rhythm section for this night of music. Marcinek soloed twice, surrounding one by Svoboda, before he said, “We’ve got to give the drummer some!” (Do we have James Brown to thank for that?) After Morris knocked that out, Marcinek and Butler locked horns and guitars, and it was glorious.
Butler smiled as he told us, “ It’s great being here! It beats busking online!” The tempo slowed down for a PGroove song from All This Everything, “For Now Forget,” with Marcinek on electric piano, switching to organ at the end. The set closed with another of those signature Marcinek tunes, “Hyperbole,” from his first album Both Sides. Everybody had a great turn soloing.
Back from set break, Butler introduced the Butthole Surfers’ tune “Pepper.” Dunedin Brewery proprietor (and the man responsible for all this great music) Michael Lyn Bryant joined in on his Teenage Engineering OP-1 tiny synthesizer (with the red Batphone to call Commissioner Gordon, we think). They followed that up with “George Washington”, THE signature Marcinek tune from Slink. Butler had a bitchin’ solo that included an “Another Brick in the Wall, Pt. 2” quote (and another one I cannot recall), Marcinek stunning on rhythm. Svoboda crushed again, as did Morris, and Marcinek ripped a short solo at the end (somebody quoted “Smoke on the Water”).
Next was a delightful take on Paul Simon’s “Diamond on the Soles of her Shoes,” Butler on vocals, Svoboda booming. “Soffa,” another Marcinek tune, had Butler soloing, then playing scratch wah-wah rhythm supporting Marcinek’s jam. They turned it into prog metal heaven for a bit before reducing the heat.
Marcinek played electric piano on “Sweetobliviousantidote,” a song from the debut PGroove album from 2003. It was so great hearing Butler playing these songs. The last tune was “Funnily” from JMIII, Butler, Svoboda, Marcinek, and Morris soloing. The small but raucous crowd, led by the spirited Kenny Foster, demanded an encore and got “Helpless,” the Neil Young composition, Butler on vocals and Marcinek on electric piano; he really is a fine keyboard player in addition to his guitar work.
Bravo/Brava to the band, Dunedin Brewery, the wait staff, sound engineer Chris Fama, and everyone who supported live music! Special thanks to Hunter Nicole Davis for her photographs!
[SET 1: I’ll Take You There, Dance Factory, If Ever Even Then, Mojo, For Now Forget, Hyperbole; SET 2: Pepper, George Washington, Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes, Soffa, Sweetobliviousantidote, Funnily; E: Helpless]