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Reviews > Shows

Published: 2001/06/22
by Dan Greenhaus

Brothers Past/Uncle Sammy- Wetlands, NYC 6/15

I'll have to admit that I was quite excited for the
Wetlands show this on Friday 6/15. Interlocking
sets from Brothers Past and Uncle Sammy promised to
provide some great music for the brief time both bands
shared the stage, in addition to fantastic music when
they were playing individually. For starters, I'd
never seen Brothers Past and had only heard good
things about them, specifically the guitar and drums.
On the other hand, I had seen Uncle Sammy numerous
times and I can attest to the magnitude of this band's
musically ability.

Brothers Past opened the show playing for roughly an
hour. This band definitely falls into the Biscuits, New Deal
techno-dance genre. However, I feel they fall short of those
band's technical abilities. That’s not too say that this
band wasn't very enjoyable, and at times great.
However, too often, and for too long, the jams seemed
to go nowhere, with very few surprises. Again, the
music was real tight, however I found that playing
the same beat for ten minutes became slightly tiresome.
Still, everyone in the band was very competent musically,
and the crowd of mostly friends did love every minute.

Then out came Uncle Sammy.

For the fifteen or so minutes that Sammy shared the
stage with Brothers Past, the music was taken to a
different level. Minus, Tom, Uncle Sammy's drummer,
all members of both bands were on stage playing a
fiercely tight dance groove. With Brothers Past laying
it down, Max and Brian (guitar, bass) from Sammy were
playing some real melodic, trancey lead lines
culminating in a musical highlight rarely achieved by
two bands working together.

Brothers Past left the stage to a rousing ovation,
richly deserved after the aforementioned jam, leaving
only Sammy. After some quick band
discussion, they launched into "Ricky Rabbit."
Quickly, the band showed all newcomers exactly why
Sammy have earned their reputation for being,
legitimately, one of the best live acts at the club level
in our scene. Seamlessly weaving in and out of songs and
grooves, they reached musical peaks that literally
caused audience members to mouth the word "Wow" over and
over. One of those peaks came only after Max
broke a string, leaving Tom and Brian to show the crowd their chops. Tom is an incredibly talented Berklee-trained
drummer and Brian puts many other bass players
in the scene to shame. Slapping and
jamming away for seven minutes, he and Tom kept the
crowd dancing without getting carried away.
After fixing his string, Max joined back in with Beau
and moved the crowd until Brothers Past returned.

The rest of the night went much like this. I indeed
enjoyed Brothers Past and hope to see them again.
Uncle Sammy continues to amaze me, and. I beg
everyone to see them at Gathering of the
Vibes. I'll be there, in the front row dancing away.

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