On March 2nd at Red Square, two of Upstate’s finest bands took the stage and amid a packed house, reinvigorated the jamband brand with the music of Buffalo’s Funktional Flow and Albany’s Formula 5. From opposite ends of the NYS Thruway, these two bands have played together before and had an amicability that was apparent before the show started and carried through, when after”Mulligans”, Funktional Flow brought up Mike McDonald and Joe Davis from Formula 5 for “Crosseyed and Painless” and a dub version of Pink Floyd’s “Breathe”. The sound for Funktional Flow is a bit reggae with hints of Disco Biscuits worked in, particularly the sound of Jon Barber. Overall, the opener proved to be an eye-opener, showing that across Upstate New York, every city and region has a band on the rise, and with Funktional Flow, some serious potential.
Formula 5, who had decked the walls of Red Square with poster board highlighting the names of their tracks with a nerdy/artistic flair, were playing in support of their debut album, Formula 5. The first set was full of horns from Bryan Brundige and Jeff Nania from The Chronicles, who also play on the album. They say in for a first set that opened with “Mister Elixer” off the album and ended the set with an outstanding and surprising version of Zeppelin’s “Trampled Underfoot”.
The second set featured mostly originals, both on the album and not, with the four piece hammering through the tunes at a paced speed. There was no reason to rush on this night of celebration. Later in the set, “Sand” was an unexpected surprise and Jammed our nicely by all, particularly McDonald on keys. The catchiest tune I’ve heard in years, “Hot Box”, led to the biggest dance party of the night with the packed house crowding near the front of the stage for this number. Not to end it early, they followed up “Hot Box” with “The Music Never Stopped” and the engines were fired up again among the crowd. An encore of “The Fall” and “Goin’ Down” rounded out the night.
Altogether, this was a stellar night and provided one of the best crowds of 2013 for local music. This was a celebration not just for the release of an album, but for whats to come.
Formula 5 setlist – Download the show here!
Set 1: Mister Elixer, Houdini, Sledgehammer, Paella, 3 Ring Circus, Trampled Underfoot (entire first set with Jeff Nania and Bryan Brundige from The Chronicles)
Set 2: Pedro, Coming Home, Earthbound Tim, The Clear -> Sand -> Hot Box, Music Never Stopped
Encore: The Fall ->Goin’ Down
Photos by Cody Conway