Drop Q, Boom Boom Room, San Francisco- 7/16
After the band name, venue and date, gig listings usually only give a
generic line or two about a group's music. Based on this, it's a challenge
to catch a groove that sparks a twinkle of magic before the moment fades
into a new dawn. So, when Drop Q was announced to play the Boom Boom Room
on Wednesday, July 16 it was followed with the requisite insipid
description. However, the blurb also included the band members' names. It
was the who in Drop Q that made the band seem like a good opportunity to
capture a moment of musical improvisational magic.
Right from the start, Jason Concepcion (guitar, Netwerk Electric) and Brian
Felix (keys, OM Trio) created a melody line that flowed above Dan Feiszli
(bass, Axis) and Alan Hertz (drums, Garaj Mahal) jam-trance rhythm.
Concepcion and Felix followed each other's chord structures the way dolphins
chase each other over the sun's reflection in the water. They weren't
playing all call and response. Concepcion and Felix also took turns diving
in between the ripples of the rhythm's wake. This slight legatto opening
slid into a funky groove that sparked the comfortably full room to dance.
Though Feiszli's bass was turned to low in the mix, his bass line was a
reliable anchor for Hertz's fast, up tempo drumming. This created a nice
foundation for Concepcion to do what he does best – blast out crazy chord
combos with reckless abandon. The pinnacle of Concepcion's segment was his
full throttle rock star fretwork. The crowd cheered; Concepcion glowed.
As Concepcion finished his segment, Felix stepped up and together with the
fluid rhythmic groove of drums and bass teased a space jam . Felix then led
the band through a light-hearted andante movement with his adroit keyboard
work. Also highlighted was Felix's swift and efficient use of gadgets to
interject bursts of atonality into the mix that enhanced the overall texture
of the pure improvised moment.
The band regrouped at C and marched into a standard blues scale. Concepcion
especially paid homage to the Boom Boom Room's founder, John Lee Hooker.
The segue to Hertz leading the band was effortless. He picked up on the
tail portion of Concepcion's blues riffs and glided the band into a funky
musical conversation. The fans danced on.
Felix's keys built the funk while Concepcion's guitar sang the blues. Hertz
magnified the crescendo of the aural groove with aptly placed syncopated
drum beats that complemented both styles. At the apex of this improvised
moment of magic the jam stopped short and Feiszli launched into his bass
solo. Feiszli demonstrated his style as being somewhere in between a rock
edge smoothed by jazz and flavored with a hint of salsa. To close the first
set, the music transferred into adagio, played like a moon lit reflection on
a peaceful lake of water lilies.
The second set welcomed OM Trio's bass player, Pete Novembre. Quickly, the
band moved into a jam reminiscent of, not surprisingly, an OM Trio spaced
out funk jam. The crowd still filled the dance floor to comfortable
capacity even though the clock ticked closer to the next day. Feiszli
returned to his bass position as Hertz drove into his drum solo. One of San
Francisco's favorite drummers, Hertz demonstrated his penchant for using the
space in between beats as syncopated accents to his groove.
Felix stepped up and introduced a new theme on his keys which the other
players quickly responded to. Having set the accompaniment's tone, Felix
turned on his lovelight. What followed was notes gone wild as Felix
combined Medeski type chords and scales with crazy mad gadget distortions.
Almost as quickly as it started, the solo wound down and the band closed the
second set with a jam similar to the one they opened the show with. The
crowd erupted into applause and cheers. As the band began to unplug the
roar increased. Drop Q offered up their encore to the spirit of the room as
Concepcion led the crew through a very soulful blues piece.
This night of Drop Q was indeed a suh-weet midweek musical treat.