A Threesome of Trios: Haewa, Legit, and Heady Yetis at Montage, May 17th

Rochester’s Montage Music Hall is primarily known for its metal shows but has occasionally branched out into the jam scene with varied success. The venue has made some sound upgrades recently and is again making forays into jamland. Friday, May 17th was one of these adventures, with Buffalo’s Heady Yetis opening for Rochester’s Legit and Haewa. Early on, it was apparent that this would be a successful journey as people crowded the venue at show time, many having traveled all the way from Buffalo to support the Yetis’ early set.

The Yetis are a young band primarily composed of members of the University of Buffalo’s jam club. They also comprised the surprise of the evening, as the jam force is strong with this young group. Playfully moving between songs with soaring solos from guitarist Philip Dreisen and rock solid rhythms from bassist Paddy Donnelly and drummer Nathan Bakowski, the Yetis showcased talent well beyond their years. Unfortunately, given the impending summer college break the Yetis will be on extended hiatus. Let’s hope this “jam-pire” strikes back as the deafening roar of the crowd end set indicated they all wanted a lot more.

Following the Yetis was the Rochester mega-group Legit, who played their second performance ever. Legit is composed of drummer-for-everything Matt Ramerman, Roots Collider’s  Wil McKenna on bass and keyboard whiz Charles Lindner of The Manhattan Project. In complete contrast to their jazzy coffee-house-esque debut show at Roam Cafe earlier in the month (which you can read about here), this set was a rager filled with playful improvisation and a very adventurous take on The Beatles “Eleanor Rigby”. It was abundantly clear that this band knows how to play to a room and the frenzied crowd in house definitely brought out their animal instincts.

During setbreak I find myself outside pow-wowing with Ocupanther‘s Jason Gilly, Roots Collider’s (and LEGIT’s) Wil McKenna, Thunderbody‘s Sam Snyder and Dopapod‘s Rob Compa. This is a typical situation in Rochester’s booming music scene, with musicians happy to support each other, sit in, and do whatever it takes to help each other succeed. Which is exactly how it should be.

Haewa was up next. Fronted by Berkelee educated ax wizard Collin Jones, with a rock solid rhythm section of Ben Chilbert (Bass) and Riley Dichairo (Drums); the band has been blanketing the local area with shows and have been rewarded justly with a noticeable degree of improved tightness in their complex compositions. The trio has no fear of experimentation and while this can sometimes cause a train wreck, more often then not, it works beautifully. The group powered through their itinerary of originals with reckless improvisational abandon, much to the glee of the packed house. Mid-set, the already salivating audience was rewarded with a sit-in from the aforementioned Rob Compa, and watching these two guitar wizards play off each other was an excellent ending to a jamtastic experience. Although next time Rob, please turn it up to 11.

Catch Haewa back at Montage after the Moe. party in the park show June 20th with Ocupanther. ($3 presale, $5 doors)