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Published: 2001/10/09
by Ryan Bartosek

Lo Faber Band, The Docksider, Erie, PA- 10/4

Like a fine wine…

I recently took in an evening of music, performed by
one of the more talented new ensembles in the business. The Lo Faber Band
is former God Street Wine member, Faber. The rest of the group is comprised
of members of another fairly well known improv based rock group. Ted
Marotta (drums), Tom Pirozzi (bass), and Todd Pasterack (guitar) all
formerly were Ominous Seapods, and add a solid, grooving rhythm
section to this onslaught of progressive, fusion-esque jam music. Also in
the band are Devin Greenwood on organ, and Dave Eggar on keyboard and cello,
who are both well accomplished musicians. And to top it all
off, Angela Ford’s fantastic soprano singing voice rounds out the
compositions, making the songs sound fuller, and extremely polished (she also
performs on keyboards). This is her first experience in the rock setting, straying from her 8 year
opera career. Hearing this group perform some of the most beautiful
composed music I have heard from a rock group in years was pure
bliss. Lo has seen fame with GSW, however the material he is putting
out with this band deserves to be heard, and these musicians deserve to be seen.

The group touches on so many musical aspects through their songs, all of which are
considered vital to the jamband genre. They have rollicking funk grooves,
smooth country licks, a keen ear for improv, a heavy jazz/fusion sound,
extremely worked out compositions complete with sections, toccatas and
concerto’s and meaningful lyrics with wonderful harmonies, melodies, and
hooks. It breaths Zappa, Floyd, Genesis, and yes maybe a little aquatic
tinges can be found here and there. Really something you must hear and see
for yourself.

The band made this stop at the Docksider in Erie, Pennsylvania on 10/4/01 in support of their first
album "Henry’s House", which has been described by The Village Voice as "The
Who meets Harry Potter". This album is a concept album to the max. It is a double disc album which is a full-out rock opera, however it is really a children’s story.
It tells the story about some kids who get sent to live in a summer house,
and must fight a demon who is terrorizing the town, and free their parents.
The discs come packaged in an exquisite, fully illustrated package with
liner notes. It is really beautiful, and creative, totally out of the pages
of a child’s picture book, in the vein of children’s series "The Black
Cauldron."

The real treat is the music through which the story is told. It is filled with
whimsical, well-written songs such as the opera’s opener
"Volcano Boy," which has beautifully crafted guitar melodies, and joyous
lyrics and harmonies. Not all the songs are mellow and relaxing . "Those
Damn Kids" is a foot stomping groove, complete with an intense vocal
breakdown in the chorus, and well-crafted guitar lines. I
particularly enjoy the way this band lays down the funk, yet still
maintains the aggressive rock edge in their music. "Sneaky Jack" is the
perfect example, with its heavy intro riff, and the swirling bed in which
the vocals are sung over. The music coupled with the lyrics are a giant
giveaway that Lo spent some time listening to Frank Zappa in his day.
Another gem that stood out for me in the live context, and sounds equally as
good on the album is the uplifting "Magic Days." Lastly, the track "Miracle Time"
is a rock ballad, in the vein of Queen, a moving number
with Angela’s vocal ability really shining through.

All these songs I heard at the concert, before I listened to the album.
Although they are well crafted on the album, and do a great job telling the
story, they are extremely dramatic live. The true impact is revealed in the
concert setting. Although they did not perform "Henry’s House" in its
entirety, the band proved the songs are truly powerful even when taken out
of the context of the rock opera. In fact, I truly believe any of these
songs could take a role as a show stopper at some point.

Not only does the band have all the new material it’s composed for the new
album, they also do some renditions of God Street Wine songs. I heard
"Molly" from the album "$1.99 Romances," and "Red" from the album which
shares the same title. These songs, aren’t changed up a whole lot, although
the multiple keyboards add quite a bit.

Still it is the Henry’s House songs that really captured my interest and imagination. I suspect they will do they same for you. The experience was fresh, unique, and downright joyous.

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