Perpetual Guava at Dunedin Brewery Oktobeerfest

One of the highlights of the this year’s Dunedin Brewery Oktobeerfest was another show by Perpetual Guava, the mixture you get when you pour in Brock Butler from Perpetual Groove and the boys of Guavatron (West Palm Beach). They have worked this collaboration several times, one of the first of which was in June at Crazy Uncle Mike’s in Boca Raton.

This outing on Saturday, October 9, showed the maturity of this pairing, a seamless marriage of the music of Butler’s PGroove and that of Guavatron. Butler and PGroove were in the forefront of the jam movement, and his talents as guitarist and singer/songwriter are massive.

Fortunately, St. Pete Taper was on hand to preserve the night and uploaded it to archive.org (one of the most important tools we have for live shows). And his recording, straight from sound engineer Chris Fama’s board (THANK YOU), is pristine! Track numbers are in [brackets].

Click this link for the audio!

They open with Guavatron’s “Awake” [2] beginning almost ballad-like for five minutes before kicking the trance-dance groove into high gear. The guitars of Butler and Adonis Guava weave in and out, all propelled by the badass rhythm section of Conor Crookham on bass and Casey Luden on drums.

Ten minutes into the groove, there is an almost imperceptible segue into “Teakwood Betz” [3 & 4], a track from the 2003 PGroove album Sweet Oblivious Antidote. Roddy Hansen twirls his synth nobs with Crookham on space bass. Butler lays down some amazingly tender guitar during the song. Butler and Adonis crush the next section on guitars as the jam dives into prog rock and then back to jam heaven, so tight and so in sync. Hansen’s keyboard effects are everywhere! Eventually they settle in on a truly sweet groove.

Speaking of sweet, they slow it down for a very tender take on “Sweet Oblivious Antidote” [5], with Adonis backing Butler on vocals. This is reverential, especially for PGroove fans from back in the day. Hansen on electric piano is perfect here.

Next up is a song we first experienced at Orange Blossom Jamboree, the blistering metal (disco metal?) of “Grit” [6]. Luden is such a monster at drum kit, and on this tune and the entire show he keeps everybody in line. The song breaks down as Hansen regales with an extended jazzy electric piano solo. The groove behind him is brilliant fusion; what you are hearing as you listen is the heart of Guavatron: Crookham and Luden are incredible. Jim Wuest of The Heavy Pets is in the house to play with the Ricca Project later, and he comes out for a keyboard romp.

This song clocks in on the regular in the 15- to 20-minute range, and they just keep on grooving ahead with some great guitar work; Butler and Adonis make a well-matched set. As the song winds almost to a close, suddenly “Loser” emerges, Butler singing those Beck lyrics everyone seems to know. The head of the tune carries about five minutes, followed by an absurdly ridiculous jam.

It begins with a breakdown, then twin guitars again playing. Three minutes later, the momentum starts to build… rapidly, Hansen on synths. Another couple minutes, and we are now in WOW territory. Crookham has been killing on bass, and Adonis shouts him out for a quick feature. Synths swirl, and the engineer of this runaway train, Luden at drum kit, sends the jam into orbit. There is more fabulous guitar work, Adonis on rhythm and Butler destroying his wah-wah pedal.

As the jam winds down, the first notes of “Three Weeks” surface. This is the third song taken from Sweet Oblivious Antidote. Its achingly beautiful melody allows the quintet to slow down after the last 36 minutes of full-tilt jamming. Butler delivers this so tenderly. After that brief respite, the jam intensifies with increasing tempo, space synths slashing and guitars blazing before they return to the head of the tune and Butler’s incisive lyrics.

You can hear somebody (Fama?) tell them they’ve got 25 minutes left, to which Adonis replies, “That’s like one song,” which turns out to be accurate as they pump out a 20-minute version of “Gustavo.” It begins as a simple Latin-tinged groove with Adonis on vocals. Once they get to the jam, it’s off to the races, Crookham in the lead with that hypnotic bass figure. Hansen is in straight-up Herbie Hancock mode: synths, electric piano, everything.

The trance-dance machine is in control at this point, the dance floor slammed with bobbing heads and twirling bodies. Finally, they rein in the jam and return to the theme one more joyous time. Aware they have time for one more, the familiar opening notes of “Naive Melody” by Talking Heads float out.

At this moment, Joe Roma and several other members of Row Jomah, a band that calls Dunedin Brewery home, are in the crowd. Row Jomah occasionally performs a superb Talking Heads tribute. Roma walks up to me and, in mock anger, intones, “This is our town! They didn’t ask our permission to play this!” After the song is over, I suggest to Roma, guitarist Mel Walsh, and drummer Dylan Chee-A-Tow that they should sue. Roma says, no, they’ll just go beat them up. Saturday night’s alright for fighting! For better or worse, no fighting ensued.

But back to “Naive Melody.” Butler’s voice is worn out by this point, but the music is spot on, guitars and keyboards absolutely spot on. Perpetual Guava, ladies and gentlemen! If they do this anywhere near you, DON’T. MISS. THEM.

 

[1]  intro

[2]  Awake > 

[3 & 4]  Teakwood Betz

[5]  Sweet Oblivious Antidote 

[6]  Grit > 

[7]  Loser > 

[8]  Three Weeks 

[9]  Gustavo 

[10]  Naive Melody

 

The feature image, taken by St. Pete Taper, is the only one I have been able to find to date.

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