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Published: 2013/02/11
by Ryan Bartosek

Jimkata, the crooked i, Erie, PA – 2/1

On this blustery, cold February evening, despite a lake effect snow warning, Erie, PA’s premier concert venue, the crooked i buzzed with excitement as the packed house waited eagerly for Ithaca, NY based band Jimkata to take the stage. Jimkata is an electronica-influenced jamband that has been making huge moves on the scene, sharing the stage with such heavyweights as Papdosio and Dopapod, as well as prog-jam titans Umphrey’s McGee.

Neither face-melting guitar pyrotechnics, nor constant, repetitive, digitized beats are the focus of Jimkata’s sound. Instead, this band’s bread and butter is their songcraft. Those other elements are peppered throughout the music; however, it’s truly the band’s melodic, harmonic, and lyrical abilities that make them the cream that rises to the top of the jamband milk. Guitarist and lead vocalist Evan Friedell could easily be considered one of the scene’s top vocalists.

All of these elements were in full effect on this night. Despite the cold outside, the crooked i quickly warmed up as Jimkata tore into their set. Warming up with “Intro-Sweet Glory” off their most recent album Die Digital, the crowd threw their hands in the air and gleefully cheered as the opening notes to “Roll With The Punches” off the band’s sophomore full-length Ghosts and Killers rang out of the house sound system. The dancefloor collectively bobbed as Jimkata weaved their way through the familiar tune, the crowd dancing ferociously and singing along. The band soon found its way into “Feed,” also off G and K. As the song’s jam came to a close, the rest of the band dropped out and drummer Packy Lunn came to the forefront, laying down a nasty techno beat as guitarist and keyboard player Aaron Gorsch and bassist Dave Rossi trickled in with the deep sub-bass and synth drenched groove of “One to Ten” off the band’s first album Burn My Money.

The band showcased songs from Die Digital for the majority of the night. The album has only been out for a few months but the Erie crowd seemed quite familiar with not only that album, but also the band’s previous two as well. They clearly anticipated each song’s intricacies and even the majority of the lyrics. In true jamband fashion, Jimkata added fresh elements to each song, extending instrumental sections with ambient, house and drum & bass electronica style tendencies, and both guitarists Friedell and Gorsch using appropriate moments to let everyone know that they can shred when they want to.

The band also pulled out a couple surprise covers, the first coming well into the set with an exceptionally well received take on Weezer’s “Say It Ain’t So” that had the entire audience smiling and high-fiving as they sang along at the top of their lungs. After solid performances of original songs “Devil’s In The Details,” “Electronic Stone,” and “American Cars,” the band, drenched in sweat and smiling ear to ear thanked the Erie crowd for braving the weather and coming out in such force, before leaving the stage. However, the audience was much too riled up to let Jimkata get away that easy, as they called out for an encore. The band obliged, returning to the stage and bringing the house down with a rocking cover of the Beastie Boys hit, “(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (to Party!)” that sent the entire bar into all out frenzy mode.

Clearly this night in Erie, PA was a successful one for the band. With a winter tour full of dates in some of the nation’s top mid-sized venues, in support of Die Digital and a bright summer ahead, Jimkata is clearly a force to be reckoned with and is poised to be one of the scene’s next big things.

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