Side Hustle and Chuck Magid Band at 1904 Music Hall Saturday
Everybody could use a little Side Chuck, right?
Then you ought to hit up 1904 Music Hall in Jacksonville Saturday night for Side Hustle and the Chuck Magid Band. That’s a world of music right there.
Side Hustle just blew out a transformative performance at Monster Mash over Halloween weekend. We were totally knocked out:
Side Hustle decided to follow suit with an incredible set of their own. Anton Laplume (guitar) and Billy Begley (keyboards), the gents who curate an amazing 28-program podcast series called Bottom of the Bill, were certainly top of the bill this night. They led with a new song by Begley (no working title yet) before “Work with What You Got.” Then Aaron Plotz on drums kicked the band in a jammy Latin direction on “Freedom 35,” and Roosevelt Collier joined in.
They got all funky for “Living for the Day,” Begley balancing clavinet and organ. Bass player Sean Thomas helped set up some funky syncopation on “Destitute,” with Collier back on stage trading back and forth with Laplume. Then, in what seemed to be the order of the evening, they too hit that excellent trance-dance groove during “Fed Up.” The word of the night, incidentally, was SHWING (or maybe SCHWING). After some spooky organ on “Street Walker,” the vocal harmonies were awesome leading into — what else — more great trance-dance during “Promise Land > Abra Cadabra > Alpha Draconis.” The crowd was eating it up.
Chuck Magid, former front man for The Groove Orient, has been tearing up club dates everywhere he goes, and he and the band recorded an excellent EP as well. This comes from a review of their live show from last December:
So far, we were two for two in the rockin’ category. What would we get from Chuck Magid and band? Answer: great ’60s- and ’70s-style rock and roll — on steroids!
Magid was frontman of the aforementioned Groove Orient, singing and playing guitar. Buckingham is part of this quartet as well, two-handed drums this time. Colin Fel, excellent keyboard player for another powerhouse band who just threw down at Suwannee Hulaween: Thomas Wynn and the Believers, was there, and Glenn Kastrinos played a really cool-looking bass with brightly colored strings. This is the quartet who played on Traveling Home, Magid’s EP which is officially released today for the X-Mas Rager (although it was available on shows during this run).
In case we might have forgotten just what Magid has to offer, he and the band came roaring out instantly with a smokin’-hot “Power of a Flower,” the first track on Traveling Home. Magid scorched a guitar solo on “Ain’t Messin’,” where the steroids really kicked in. They took off their foot off the gas — briefly — as “To Be With You” began, but surely enough it too eventually kicked ass. That one is also on Traveling Home.
“Bounce” was a killer instrumental rocker with Buckingham stepping up, then Kastrinos on space bass. At this point it reminded of glorious ’60s and ’70s rock and roll right when Magid steered the jam into Mars Bonfire’s “Born to Be Wild,” the massive Steppenwolf anthem that spawned the term “heavy metal.” But this was the band’s distinctive spin on the tune. Then they twisted it into “The Pusher,” almost unrecognizable but a really great take on another powerful song also from that debut Steppenwolf album. It even rolled briefly through “Mountain Jam,” the Allman Brothers’ variation of Donovan’s “There is a Mountain.”
Two more songs from Traveling Home appeared next. “Such a Situation” was fine, and “Broken Man,” which Magid performs solo on the album, is given a tender band treatment with a nice slide guitar solo.
They launched immediately into a rollicking barrelhouse rocker which emerged as “Deal,” the Jerry Garcia staple that worked its way into many Grateful Dead setlists. From there was an entirely different arrangement of Led Zep’s “Hey, Hey, What Can I Do?” and that became “Dear Mr. Fantasy,” the Traffic tune, Fel’s Hammond B3 all over this. Then a wild instrumental take on “Manic Depression” (Hendrix) emerged, Magid “singing” the lyrics on guitar with Kastrinos huge on bass. Finally, it rolled back into “Deal” with a brief Buckingham drum feature.
The group’s best vocal harmonies appeared on the closing “Rock N Roll,” also the last track on the EP. It began easy but then rocked out to finish an excellent night of rock and roll. This band has a lot to say, and we look forward to more live music and more recordings.