photo by Adam Pensel
When summer arrives and the town of Lake George bustles with scores of vacationers and locals alike, Shepards Cove, a bar and restaurant nestled on the Western Shoreline, hosts a series bands on Thursday nights to coincide with the town sponsored fireworks shows that run throughout the summer. However, Thursday August 29th, the real fireworks were on display inside this lakeside establishment as Formula 5 played what may be one of their best show to date. As the fireworks display outside drew to a close, Formula 5 kicked off their three-set show with ‘Catch Me’, an original bluegrass tune that sticks to a high tempo guitar riff coupled with quick stops and starts, and features improvised sections by Mike McDonald on keys and Joe Davis on guitar before looping back around into its original form and closing out with an impressive composed ending that is high in energy and difficulty that this band appears to have mastered.
However, the real masterpiece of the night came in the second set. As the band reconvened, Greg Marek sat down at his kit and played an impressive drum solo that launched the band into ‘Pedro’, a point at which the dance floor seemingly flooded and the give and take between band and audience was ignited. ‘Pedro’, a song with multiple jam structures shifts from its origins of heavy rock to spacey ambience before slowly swinging full circle back to heavy rock, tension and release style. Just when the smoke began to clear from the hoosker doo (Joe Dirt’s preferred fireworks) that the band had set off, they lit a stick of dynamite and launched into ‘2001’; fueled by the energy coming off of ‘Pedro’, this was one for the books. Often times, a band can attempt to pull off a cover and when it isn’t better than the original or at least equally as good, it can really turn off an audience. This was not the case here, and yours truly is hoping and praying for the band to release this sequence of songs on archive.org so that you can listen for yourself.
The verdict: Formula 5 is growing fast. Their prowess as a jam band continues to expand and find new roads. They are extremely talented, extremely fun, and at this time, extremely affordable. Get out to see them as much as you can while the latter of these three things lasts. You will not be disappointed.
For a great version of “Pedro”, check out their set from The Big Up on archive.org
Set 1: Catch Me, The Clear, Happy Hour Hero^, Excalibur, This Place -> 3 Ring Circus -> Paella, Rising Tide
Set 2: Drums -> Pedro -> 2001, Mister Elixir, Grey Seal*
Set 3: Epiphany -> Earthbound, Perch Above the Earth@ -> Uh Oh Love Comes to Town% -> Hot Box, The Fall, Goin’ Down
@ “Walk the Dinosaur” (Was Not Was) Teases
% Talking Heads