Why You Should Have Gone to See Photon (09.24) at Dunedin Brewery: VIDEO EVIDENCE
Because Jimmy Dunstan, Chris Michetti, Neal “Fro” Evans, and Vinny Svoboda (collectively, Photon) blew out a stunning performance Friday night (09.23) at Dunedin Brewery, and they are primed and ready to go again.
It was an evening of brilliant jamtronica, electronica, synth-drenched funk, and jammed-out prog rock (the four major food groups). James Charles Dunstan Jr., aka Dr. Woogins (the chiropractor) and better known as Jimmy D, wrote all of the tunes. There is no way for me to overstate his mastery on electronic keyboards, especially synths. Let me put it this way: I never thought I would hear another keyboard player to match the prowess of George Duke. I am delighted to say I was wrong. Jimmy D. IS that man.
You should find out — anywhere, any time he is playing.
Please don’t think I have forgotten the other members of the band. Far too few people know about Chris Michetti. His amazing guitar was for years at the center of the mix of the group RAQ, and, blessedly, RAQ is BAQ! He also teamed up with Marc Brownstein and Aron Magner of The Disco Biscuits and Mike Greenfield of Lotus to form Conspirator, another legendary band serving up those four major food groups.
Dopapod drummer Neal “Fro” Evans was likewise perfectly attuned to this setting. His superb work throughout the evening was a master class. I am always aware that it is the drummer who turns up the heat and brings it back down to simmer and then raging boil, and Evans was the master chef last night.
Which brings us to the bass. Dan Africano is the usual member of the band, but he was not available for these shows. Michael Lyn Bryant, proprietor and talent wrangler for DunBrew, had one suggest, and it was the perfect one. Locals know Vinny Svoboda first from his time with groundbreaking band Displace and now from his incredible work with the dynamic collective Anthill Cinema; he also plays with Row Jomah and with Road to Nowhere. The correct word here is seamless: Svoboda fit perfectly into the framework of the quartet, learned the material, and crushed it. Proud moment for us.
There is a setlist, but it’s tough with instrumental tunes to know if the order changed. It doesn’t really matter. Photon was magnificent from start to finish. “Day 1” was bouncy, with our first look at Jimmy D’s synths. Svoboda was all up in it immediately! “Space 1” was ridiculous deep space funk with synth bass atop Svoboda. Michetti ripped a great solo, and Evans stepped up.
At this point song titles get tangled. “Mouse Hunt” began mid-tempo but blew up as the jam expanded, or maybe that was “Space 2.” No matter. Jimmy D was simply stunning on electric piano and… everything. Michetti’s technique is pure artistry.
For sure it was “Bubble Up” opening set two, more amazing, bubbly spacey funk. (I’m running out of superlatives.) The space funk went even deeper on “Renegade.” Watching Jimmy D dance over his keyboards is like watching a painter creating a masterpiece.
There was a song about a dog in the mix — “Hound Bull” — and there was a tune so WAY, WAY up with everyone soloing, including Svoboda! and then Evans!! “Space 2” may or may not have been the closer, but it was the best way to end the evening. Jimmy D and Michetti traded fours, and Evans capped it off with a big flourish.
Sound engineer Chris Fama FTW. Great sound!
I’m ready to do it again tonight at 9. See you there.
[ONE: Day 1, Space 1, Stranger 1, Mouse Hunt, Space 2, Starlight; TWO: bubble Up, Renegade, Hound Bull, Dark Corners, Space 2, Bubble Haus]
THANKS to Tim Mulaly for his diligence in recording video of several songs!