A cold wet day in New York didn’t keep the people of New Paltz from coming to check out a great night of live music at the Oasis Café, located on Main Street in town. It’s an easy venue to get to from the Thruway, with friendly staff and the place to go for those who like intimate shows with the bands who are playing.
The night started out with The Assortment of Crayons, hometown favorites from New Paltz and the crowd really showed up in force for their hour long set. Their funk came out immediately in full force and elicited a feel for Shakedown-era Dead. Matt Richards’s keys kept the music moving along nicely bringing it back and forth between funk and space. Erik and Sean Hill not only play guitar and bass, but also switched during the set, each holding their own on either instrument and Batu Attila’s drumming kept a steady groove for the others to layer over. A great opening set that had two covers, “Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours” and “Crazy”, with help from some lovely female vocals and great segues between songs and a tease of “2001”.
Albany’s own Formula 5 came on next and slayed the crowd. Their two hour set had no lulls, keeping the energy high at all times. The crowd, although it had become a little thin near the 2:30 A.M. end, danced all night long. They opened with “Perch” and came firing on all cylinders, with great jamming where no member stepped on another’s notes and let each person shine for a bit. Then “Epiphany” hit and the funk oozed throughout Oasis. The dance party really got going here and never let up for a moment. This one had a great Dead vibe to it and it segued into “Uh-Oh”, which led to a noticeable Phish vibe. Joe Davis was hitting beautiful bright and lively chords, Bill Shattuck kept a mean rhythm going with Greg Marek, and Mike McDonald played the keys to match what Joe was doing. This is a band that knows how to jam.
The night continued and soon the night seemed like one long jam. Around 1:50 A.M., Joe mentioned Phish had announced their tour dates and maybe a little celebration should go down. With that, the band started up Phish’s “Ghost”. Formula 5’s take on the Phish classic was fantastic, funky, dirty and a little bit of rock thrown in. They did the song justice and followed it up with moe.’s “Happy Hour Hero”. These covers back to back showed who they are influenced by, but also how great their musicianship is to give both songs their due. They ended with a bluegrass tune “Catch Me” and followed it up with the space funk of “Houdini” to end the night. Both of these songs showed how diverse this band can be at any given moment. If you have a chance, make sure you see these guys when they come to your town.
Formula 5 Setlist: Perch, Epiphany, Uh-Oh, The Ride > This Place > 3 Ring Circus, Ghost*, Happy Hour Hero^, Pedro
Encore: Catch Me>Houdini
* Phish Cover, ^ Moe Cover