freebeerandchicken Reunite for First Show in 13 Years
freebeerandchicken reuntied for a show at Valentine’s in Albany, NY on Friday night. It was the first time in 13 years that the classic 1996-2001 era lineup of Damian Ubriaco (guitar/vocals), Kirk Juhas (keys, harmonica, vocals), Ken Juhas (bass), Chris Sullivan (guitar/vocals), Seth Rostan (saxaphones), and Pat “Skatman” Bayles (drums) had performed together as a unit.
After a set from Wreckloose (also a reunion of sorts), the slow-build instrumental “Woman” opened the night with sax/guitar doubled lines and a peak jam bringing the opening number to almost 10 minutes. The guys eased into four tracks from their 1999 album Fruition, starting with an eight minute version of “Sugar Plum” featuring solos from Kirk and Sullivan. The group then slowed it down for “Living in the City,” only to speed it up again and when Kirk Juhas busted out his harmonica for a foot-stomping “Going Away Blues.”
Crowd favorite “Take It Easy” came next before Ubriaco strummed the opening chords to the environmental ballad “Green” (the shortest song of the night, at just over 4 minutes). The band then upped the tempo for the FB&C anthem “Country.” Next, the group got going on “Epic,” a song that highlighted many shows at Wetlands and other great venues during their heyday. This lead into The Band’s ‘Ophelia’, which saw Kirk and Damian share vocals on alternating sections. The night got even funkier when Ken—the younger Juhas twin—started the bassline to Jaco Pastorius’ “Chicken,” giving way to a sax lead from Rostan before things slowed down again for “Shine.”
The two-hour set closed with a version of ‘Rattlesnake’, featuring Kirk Juhas on vocals, as well as alternating between the electric piano and B3. As they walked off stage, Skat saluted the crowd for a job well done for the band and audience.
FB&C then returned for the encore, “John Henry,” which Ubriaco introduced as “a traditional song, about a young man, with a hammer.” That tune ended with a “Cool Drink of Water” vocal jam, a reference to the way the band used to close out their past shows at the Monopole in Plattsburgh.
The freebeerandchicken reunion kicked off a weekendlong celebration of promoter Greg Bell’s final shows at Valentine’s before the venue closes. Those festivities also included a Saturday night performance by Peter Prince & Moon Boot Lover. That show featured appearances by former Moon Boot Lover drummer Eric Imbrosciano (who joined them the entire night), as well as The DeadBeats’ Rich Lemire and Brian Miller, Dr. Jah & the Love Prophets’ Dave Geoghan and many more.
Here’s a look at this weekend’s setlists
Friday, December 20, 2013, freebeerandchicken, Valentine’s, Albany, NY
Living in the City
Going Away Blues
Take It Easy
Saturday, December 21, 2013, Peter Prince & Moon Boot Lover, Valentine’s, Albany, NY
Bag A Day Habit
Coming From Everywhere
Lost the Best Woman*
They Love Your Money*
Miss the Train*
You Make My Love Big*
Sin City (broken snare drum)*
Boney Maronie (Johnny Winter)*
Natural Kind of Lover*
(*) with Rich Lemire (The DeadBeats/Jerkwater Ruckus) on percussion and vocals
“Friends” was also with Dave Geoghan (from Dr. Jah & the Love Prophets)
“Sin City” started with Peter and Ben only, while a broken snare drum was changed
“The Seeker” was also with Brian Miller (The DeadBeats) on tambourine and backing vocals
The encore featured Justin Hendricks (The Chronicles), Pete O’Hearn (Dr. Jah & the Love Prophets) and Dave Geoghan all on guitar; Bryan Brundige (The Chronicles) on trombone and Adam Siegel (The Chronic Horns) on saxophone; and Brian Miller (The DeadBeats) and Jules Herr on additional percussion.