Brilliant Night at Dunedin Brewery with Lemon City Trio
It had been three years since my last Lemon City Trio encounter. I’d caught them first at Orange Blossom Jamboree 2018 and then four weeks later at Dunedin Brewery. I thought they were a really good band.
I was wrong.
They are WAAAAY better than good.
In my review from 2018, I commented that there is definitely something in the water down in South Florida. There is simply no other way to explain the fact that there are no fewer than half a dozen outrageously good bands proficient in jazz, jam, fusion, prog, funk, jamtronica, and rock. To wit:
Aaron Lebos Reality
Lemon City Trio
Tand (formerly Fugu)
Lemon City Trio played Dunedin Brewery Saturday night, May 22, and they were nothing less than spectacular. This combo honors the organ trio tradition and then pushes the envelope in every direction. Brian Robertson for this show played the Nord Electro5 and Moog GrandMother. Nick Tannura was on guitar, with Aaron Glueckauf on drums.
One other note before we get to the music. This show was, unfortunately, a well-kept secret without much publicity, which meant the crowd was sparse all night. That mattered not to the trio, however, as they threw down two superb hour-plus sets. THAT’S how they roll.
The show included four of five tracks from their first EP Welcome to the Neighborhood (2017) and six of the eight tunes from their 2020 album Cliffs, plus a single of theirs and some choice covers.
They shot off the mark with strong fusion from Cliffs titled “Spicy Nacho,” followed by “Babbitt.” Next they hit a fine Latin samba groove on “16zz.” Glueckauf was keeping superb time at kit. Robertson for the most part played the melody on the Nord (organ, electric piano, clavinet settings) with his right hand and some wicked bass figures with left hand on the Moog.
Both Robertson on organ and Tannura on guitar carried the “vocals” on The Meters’ “People Say” (from Rejuvenation). The trio was smokin’ hot on “Dither,” followed by the first Charlie Hunter cover: “Fist Full o’ Haggis.” There was an Al Green song, “So Glad You’re Mine,” before jumping back to the new album for “Kaimans.”
By turns, Lemon City Trio channeled Charlies Hunter, Medeski, Scofield, Martin & Wood, TAUK, Larry Coryell, Tony Williams Lifetime, and numerous other fusion luminaries, all while maintaining their own Lemon City identity. Tannura is a remarkable guitarist, soaring time and again.
They garnered lots of smiles with a fine take on The Isleys’ “It’s Your Thing” (with something else inserted during the jam) and shut down the first set proper with fusion funk from the EP, “Lemoneopolis.”
During set break, Robertson suggested the second set would be more psychedelic and jammy. That was an understatement. They opened with three songs from Welcome to the Neighborhood, the title track and “Jawn” first, both powerful prog rock. They dialed it back just a bit for “Flying Free” and further on “Slow Down,” a lovely ballad.
“Fine Corinthian Leather” was more killer Latin fusion and prog, another Charlie Hunter cover. To great acclaim, Glueckauf, the spokesman for the band, announced a Thundercat tune, “Them Changes.” That was hot!
Next up were four more tracks from Cliffs, beginning with the floaty “New Moon.” “Space Raiders” was very TAUK-like, Tannura and Glueckauf in crush mode. The title track had a very ethereal opening before rocking out, and Glueckauf was a master on brushes for “Road Home.” The set finished with monster tune “Clark ’n Weezle.” Robertson attacked first with clavinet — WAAAY uptempo. This tune reminded of Larry Coryell and Alan Holdsworth and Tony Williams.
Any time you see any of these bands performing within reach, RUN, DON’T WALK to hear them: Lemon City Trio, Aaron Lebos Reality, Electric Kif, Fusik, Guavatron, and Tand.
And somebody test the water down there. FOR REAL!
[SET 1: Spicy Nacho, Babbitt, 16zz, People Say, Dither, Fist Full o’ Haggis, So Glad You’re Mine, Kaimans, It’s Your Thing, Lemoneopolis; SET 2: Welcome to the Neighborhood, Jawn, Flying Free, Slow Down, Fine Corinthian Leather, Them Changes, New Moon, Space Raiders, Cliffs, Road Home, Clark ’n Weezle]
Lemon City Trio