U-Melt, Lion’s Den, NYC- 3/17
U-Melt 3-17 Lion's Den, NYC
People are clearly excited about U-Melt. This is an undeniable fact that few could, or would, refute. After all, they played a show on New Years Eve at The Lions' Den, not an easy gig for a band to get. They've been generating a fair amount of hype in the short time they've been together, and so it was only a matter of time until I, and others, got around to seeing them. Being that this is NYC, I've had ample opportunity to see them, but things keep getting in the way. Such is life.
On Thursday, U-Melt pulled into The Lion's Den for one of their many stops on what appears to be a lengthy tour in support of, well, U-Melt. And from the looks of things, they seem to be doing all right for themselves. The tour moves around the Northeast, as the band is seemingly and correctly resisting the urge to tour in other parts of the country, for the short term at least. Of course, this may be due more to financial constraints than good management, but either way the band is rightfully working to build up buzz at home before hitting the road.
And judging by their show at the Den on Thursday, the buzz is, for the most part, well deserved. Granted, the band is extremely young and they have lots of growing to do before any real praise can get heaped on them, but the tools are there, something that cant' be said for numerous bands. One noticeable trait worth mentioning is the fact that U-Melt is blatantly a "jamband" and their sound is very derivative of what one would imagine a "jamband" sounds like. They do have elements of livetronica, but that seems to be the status quo for bands in this scene these days. But as I mentioned, the band has skill and talent, and that is the most important thing for a young band. Everything else comes in time.
As for the show, it's clear from the outset that the band is good. All four members have skills, and their vocals aren't the worst thing you are going to hear in the jamband world. The band took to the stage and opened with "Air" which served as a warm up/soundcheck, and an enjoyable one at that. The ensuing "Cloud Box->Marvin The Pussy" was well executed and featured forays into both jamrock, and some mutated and hyper form of electronicarock. Keyboardist Zac Lasher's work led the charge into "Marvin", laying down a full soundscape on which the band was able to build. The rhythm section of George Miller on drums and Adam Bendy on bass had a tight focus between them, and when working with Lasher to anchor the jam, allowed guitarist Rob Salzer's sometimes searing, often wild, fretplay to work on top. Whatever style you want to call it, this was one of many nice and tight sections, which the crowd of fifty or so genuinely enjoyed.
Later in the evening, the band featured yet another enjoyable passage, this time by way of "Infectious Groove->Kind Insight". Sections like this showcase the band's skill at doing what they do best; jam. Adam Bendy's full and thick sounding bass, anchored in the lower fret positions, kept the crowd dancing allowing the band to build on top. If nothing else, I noticed during this section the band's proclivity for looking at each other, listening to each other as they move through the jam. This can't be taught, and I'm surprised at how few bands actually do this. If nothing else, other bands can learn from U-Melt in this regard.
The rest of the evening, until 2:00 AM or so, went much like that. An encore of Huey Lewis' "I Want A New Drug" was a nice cap on the evening, as few in this world could argue with a Huey Lewis tune. As I keep reiterating, this band has skills and they are worth seeing live. As the band ages, and Rob's rhythm work develops, as well as Adam Bendy's lead work, the band will mature, and they'll be better off as a result. Their live show will benefit, their music will benefit and their fans will benefit
In the meantime, few can argue with a Huey Lewis tune.