For a while on Saturday, October 8, the four intrepid members of the Albany based jamband Formula 5, in the middle of their first tour of Western states, thought they’d be trapped in a “The Little Engine That Couldn’t” scenario with their trademark 70’s tour van that may well have driven off the set of the disco-era cop show, Starsky and Hutch. The trouble began about 40 miles south of Boulder as they headed from a tour stop in Taos, New Mexico. The van engine sputtered to stop. From that moment, the engine stopped repeatedly in ever shortening distances. But they chugged and chugged until finally, at the last stoplight, the band was able to safely push their ride into a parking space in front of their intended destination, the aptly named Owsley’s Golden Road, named after the Grateful Dead’s longtime tour manager and longtime acid expert par excellance.
Quickly, Formula 5 became “The Little Band That Could, and Did.” Despite the vehicle trouble, the band wasted no time ripping into a collection of original melodies that spun into robust jams laced with the occasional harmonizing lyrics. Even with extended improvisations, Formula 5 didn’t waste notes as they chewed their way out of a paper bag of vinyl musical traditions including funk, jazz, and psychedelic rock. They weren’t just the little band that could. They were the band that did. And then some.