On Friday, December 6th at the Oneonta Theater, the crowd was in for a treat with a spectacular showcase of exquisite young talent on display. Starting off the evening was Squid Parade, a hometown band who really seemed to have their act together. A tight band with sick bassist Pete Piscitelli, the band managed to pull off complicated rhythms with ease. Drummer, Emmett Rozelle, who could have easily been seen playing in an ‘80s hair band had enough raw energy to fuel the rest of the more serious band members. Their awesome cover of the night was “No Quarter”, which they played with extreme accuracy.
Following was FiKus, featuring another killer bassist, Travis Paparoski, this time on the six-string bass. Their keyboardist Jon Schmarak seems to be heavily influenced by Marco Benevento, with the band playing as their third song of the set “Michael Phelps”, one of their more popular tunes that successfully channels Benevento’s style and demonstrates just how talented this young keyboardist is. The percussionist Pete Kozak doubled as lead singer/rapper, and he had a great voice, but the lyrics were at times drowned out by the other instruments. The band members looked like they were truly enjoying themselves on stage, which came through in the incredible energy of their tunes. Much of their song list had a “video game rock” kind of feeling.
The headliner of the night was Jimkata, a relatively-close-to-hometown band, hailing from Ithaca. Jimkata always seems to draw a crowd of familiar faces to the Oneonta Theater. Complete with local area fire dancers who took their act indoors for this show, using cool light toys instead of flames (although sometimes distracting, taking attention away from the music itself), Jimkata put on a rockin’ show.
Start with a base of disco and ‘90s pop-rock, mix in some electronic sounds and techno beats, and you end up with Jimkata’s signature style of “electro-funk”. A sine wave of sound seemed to permeate throughout the set, giving a real feeling of drive and continuity. The band was definitely not shy about letting the audience know they got bass, which came through in the crowd’s enthusiasm and consistent bopping along to the tunes. The band’s drummer Packy Lunn has a great command of rhythm, managing to keep the rest of the band together during their more rhythmically tricky songs. The last song of the set, “American Cars”, had a particularly electronic feel to it, featuring double keyboards by Aaron Gorsch and Dave Rossi. Responding to the audience’s insistence on one more song, Jimkata came back out with a duo of two more spacey numbers, “Die Digital > Roll With the Punches”, to send everyone on their way home on an upbeat note, excited to come back to check out Jimkata the next time they come to town.