It was one of the first beautiful nights of the year for The Formula 5 album release party at Red Square on April 18th. Suitable Groove started the night off as the crowd thickened and the energy levels increased. Although it was still early in the night when Suitable Groove took stage, there were a significant people gathered to get down to their funky beats.
Shortly after Suitable Groove, The Hornitz took stage with enough energy to put Russel Simmons to shame. The Hornitz mix a wide array of funk, beat boxing, bass trombone, tenor saxophone, keys, and a list of different samplings to make up their unique sound. At one point during the performance they busted out a full rendition of Cypress Hill’s, “Insane in the Brain” with a flooring amount of funk. In case the crowd wasn’t already highly impressed, the duo then broke into a beat-boxing session while singing at the same time. All of you 90’s kids might remember the comparison to the great Rahzel who really brought this technique to the forefront. Overall, an absolutely phenomenal performance by this Boston based duo. If you have yet to see the Hornitz live, I suggest you check your local listings.
As soon as Formula 5 took to the stage, the harrowing funk of Joe Davis’ guitar riffs echoed through the streets of Albany. The band opened with “The Clear” off of their new album, Edging on Catastrophe, which was an impressive and energy packed song to open their debut off their new album. For a portion of the show, special guest Tucker Callander stepped in for a few songs live on the violin. Callander sat in for “The Clear,” “Catch Me > Timmy’s Slumber > Epiphany > Timmy’s Slumber” and “Nu-Gen.” This part of the show showed their extreme versatility within each segue while adding a new and different flair to each song with the accompaniment of the violin. New bassist James Woods sat in for a set closing “Hot Box > Good Times Bad Times”.
Often times for album debut parties it is hard to tell which direction the band is trying to take with it’s new endeavor, but it is evident that Formula 5’s direction is up. The entire album front to back is like a more polished version of who the band has always been and what they have always been about. Staying true to their roots with Joe Davis’ Phish-esque guitar riffs, while rounding out their funky Bill-bass lines with Mike McDonald on the keys and Greg Marek on the drums. Edging on Catastrophe is a wonderful representation of the band’s versatility as artists, bringing in influences of bluegrass, electronic, folk, rock and of course, funk.
This was also their farewell show to their longtime bassist Bill Shattuk, so of course there had to be an epic bust out of “Sledgehammer.” This is clearly one of Formula 5’s favorite covers, which is evident through the extreme amount of energy and enthusiasm they show on stage. Another highlight of the show was “Pedro”, for which the guys from The Hornitz jumped on stage with the guys to share in the jam. They then segued into the Phish/Trey Anastasio Band classic, “Sand.” The show was an all out party from start to finish and the collaboration of all of these talented artists made for a perfect concoction of pure funkafied excellence. From front to back the album shows the exponential growth each individual has accomplished as a musician and also the immense amount of capability the band has as a whole.