Capital Region jammers on the rise, Formula 5, tore the roof off of Hudson River Music Hall during Saturday night’s show with tasteful licks, genre-spanning improvisation and favorable cover choices. Doubling as lead guitarist Joe Davis’ quarter of a century birthday bash, festivities rolled through the night with approving cheers from an ever-growing fanbase and supportive family and friends, as well as musical bust outs and, equally as important, celebratory cake.
Welcomed into a cozy, 17-year-old building with art history oozing out of its Hudson Falls walls, visitors quickly poured in and found themselves at home. The 100-person capacity venue allowed its show dwellers to bring coolers stocked with beverages, creating a BYOB party for the masses. The gig opened up with “Excalibur” which offered some live-tronica tuneage and glitchy grooves from Matt Richards on the keys with a stop and go technique, reminiscent of Lespecial. For anyone that wasn’t already fully enchanted, the third song of the night, Dire Strait’s “Money for Nothing,” had all dancing on foot, complete with hard-hitting on the drum kit by Greg Marek. Bass whisperer James Woods, who also recently had a birthday on Feb. 8, took the reigns during “Come Along” with a killer bass line as they made eye contact with one another and informed the crowd they’d be heading off stage for a quick break.
A fifteen minute intermission ensued for well-deserved refueling with a Formula 5, chemistry-themed dessert, some of which was offered to the crowd during set two. Following a performance of “It Goes…” and debuting the track “Figure Out A Feeling,” they continued tradition in delivering original and innovative shows to their fans. “The Birch Tree,” the penultimate track of the night that made its debut at Connecticut’s B.R.Y.A.C just last week, came as an emotional tribute to Davis’ father who recently passed away. As the second set rolled on, so did the covers. Lively jams swept over, from Don Henley’s “Dirty Laundry,” complete with a tease of Talking Heads’ “Crosseyed and Painless,” to a funky encore of Jeff Beck’s 1975 hit, ‘Thelonious.”
Another treat found its way to the crowd when Davis manned the mic to reveal their All Points North album release gig at Putnam Den is slated for April 15 with support from The Other Brothers. Amid their current tour, the band will wrap up a leg across the Northeast area before launching out to Ohio, Colorado and ending in Vermont at the famed Nectar’s for an April Fools Day gig.
The group reconvened once more for another cover–the fourth and final of the night. This time, they brought Steely Dan’s “Hey Nineteen” to the forefront of the stage to wrap up the night for an extremely satisfied Hudson River Music Hall crowd.
It’s quite apparent that Formula 5 previously shared the stage with a number of aficionados in their scene like Dopapod, Tauk and Kung Fu. Davis, Woods, Marek and Richards have been featured on multiple festival lineups, with the most recent announcement of Disc Jam 2017 acting as the latest notch on their belt. Maybe it was the birthday bounce in their step, their eagerness to play for a home crowd or simply the energy propelling through the quartet on their current winter tour but their stage presence and eye-opening talent found a packed crowd cheering, whistling and twirling to the tunes of the night. Davis’ 25th trip around the sun was one for the books.
If you’ve slept on catching these guys on tour so far, be sure to make the trip to the Den on April 15 for a Capital Region throw down with some hypnotizing Formula 5 content.
Set 1- Excalibur, Sad Bed* -> Money For Nothing$ > Come Along
Set 2- It Goes…, Figure Out A Feeling&, Dirty Laundry&#, Trout Waters, Pt. I ->Out Of Water Jam ->Trout Waters, Pt. II, The Birch Tree, Thelonious!
Encore- Hey Nineteen%
$ Dire Straits cover
# Don Henley cover
! Jeff Beck cover
% Steely Dan cover