Welcome to Dunedin Brewery, Sauce Pocket!
[All photographs courtesy of Funk Eye Media]
For the second week in a row, we encountered bands that have only been on the scene since the turn of the year. Both bands had their Dunedin Brewery debuts, and both times we’ll share the same remark: “This is what a jam band should sound like!”
Jam comes in an unimaginable assortment of flavors, textures, colors, but — regardless of the genre(s) the band sports — it just has to rock you to your very soul. July 15, MiniM, a new entry from St. Petersburg, met that requirement in spades, rocking the house along with jamtronic champions Guavatron. (Guavatron returned the next night for more magic.)
On Saturday, July 23, Sauce Pocket, some more NKOTB from St. Augustine, came to show the Florida West Coast what they had to offer, and the answer was: PLENTY. This quintet doesn’t have a studio album out, but they did issue a live album: Live at Underbelly 7/7/22, full of their psychedelic space funk.
Sauce Pocket had been shaping their sound since just before New Year’s, and they simply exploded at Orange Blossom Jamboree with an opening set Friday that rocked us back. The band features Kaleb King, keyboards, synths, vocals; Riley O’Brien, drums; Logan Quick, guitar; Taylor Ivie, bass; and new (not so) secret weapon Jeremy Prince, tenor saxophone.
On to Dunedin. The band’s guitarist, Logan Quick, was unavailable during July, so the band reached out to Steve Honig, an monster on the Jacksonville scene (and well beyond) as bass player for S.P.O.R.E. and guitar player for both Greenhouse Lounge and Cowford. He tucked perfectly into Sauce Pocket’s deep grooves.
An enthusiastic crowd was gathering to welcome the newcomers, who balance original music and covers very effectively. They tore into set one with Vulfpeck’s “Beastly” with a deep jam featuring Honig, Prince, and King on electric piano. O’Brien closed the tune with a flair (or maybe it was a flare). Either way. Original tune “That’s Evil” was a funked-up rocker dripping with synths.
O’Brien had another feature in “Star-Visions” before it melted into “Slipping Away” (Leisure), a slowed-down jam with King’s beautiful rock vocals and electric piano, reminding me of “It Ain’t No Use.” StPete Music put this great medley up on YouTube!
What followed was a 20-minute romp through “Use Me.” Bill Withers never heard his tune taken at double-time! Everything was soaring — vocals, electric piano, synths — and then they shoved it into overdrive, with Prince a standout on tenor. THAT’S how you jam!
Everybody needed a breather! After a short break, set two began with a cover of Umphrey’s McGee’s “Booth Love”: more jam! Most of these tunes were clocking in at 10-15 minutes, appropriately so. “Sir Saucelot” featured Honig and organ. At this point, I would note the unsung hero and MVP of the set, Taylor Ivie on bass. HE CRUSHED THE ENTIRE SET! Such killer bass lines, truly innovative.
Honig was again front and center on “Eyes of Thieves,” a Spafford tune Funk Eye Media photographer Chuck Smalling called immediately! They also tore up one of the most popular tunes on the circuit: Thundercat’s “Them Changes.” Ivie blew this one sky-high, with Honig, Prince, and more space bass from Ivie.
They took an unexpected break (only 13 minutes), before jumping back up to rock their great tune “Lightsaber.” The jam grooves were deep, then got piled on even higher as they morphed into “Yeti” (Goose), and went all pandemonium when they twisted that into Jamiroquai’s “Canned Heat”! They returned briefly to “Yeti” to close out their debut.
Here’s betting they get asked back!
[SAUCE POCKET 1: Beastly (Vulfpeck), That’s Evil, Star-Visions > Slipping Away (Leisure), Use Me (Bill Withers); 2: Booth Love (Umphrey’s McGee),Sir Saucelot, Eyes of Thieves (Spafford), Them Changes (Thundercat); 3: Lightsaber >Yeti (Goose) > Canned Heat (Jamiroquai) > Yeti]