The streets of Saratoga Springs were jammed packed on Saturday, May 17th night and there was little doubt that the Putnam Den would be receiving much of this overflow, especially considering the first beer was on the house, and two of the best progressive bands around, The Cosmic Dust Bunnies and the Squid Parade, were about to tear the place down. Yet somehow, the room was sparse, as fans of these bands looked around in befuddlement wondering if they were in the right place. They were, and regardless of how many people were there, the band did not mind one bit as they played some of the best sets seen at Putnam Den in quite some time!
Squid Parade, formed at SUNY Oneonta, opened the evening with their own variety of jamtronica and a steady groove, setting the evening’s vibe. All the supporters of the bands knew they were in the right place: this was going to be a party! Guitarist Zac Westbrook had a very similar style to that of Chris Michetti, yet with his own soaring flow, showing his influences but also proving he is his own musician. The drums, played by Emmett Rozelle, and bass, played by Pete Piscitelli, played perfectly in sync with each other, leaving Westbrook to do his thing. Although many bands play to this formula, Squid Parade did it in a manner that exemplified practice and experimentation leading towards a new twist on what is becoming a tedious sound in a fantastic genre. The stand out track was a brand new song, among a set that showed extreme diversity, from speed metal, to classic rock, to electronica poppy choruses, yet never losing groove or the attention of the fans. This is a band that some may say are trying to find themselves, due to all the different sounds but they have already found themselves, in creating a new sound.
Setlist: The Hammer, Out of Phase, Mutation Engine, Leave that Thing Alone,Never Odd Or Even, Frog Legs, S.S.R.A.S.B., Dualit
New Haven, Connecticut natives The Cosmic Dust Bunnies then took the stage and hit the crowd with another type of a daring musical adventure. Their sound of new wavetronica seems like an anomaly in itself, but it wasn’t long before the crowd understood what this meant. With Chris Sellas spouting a synthesizer over the other instruments, it felt like 1984 all over again. Bassist Matt Beckett constructed the perfect bridge between Sellas and guitarist Matt Dempsey. A very fulfilling sound, giving both soloists time to slowly make their way to the spotlight. This concept is not used as precisely as the Dust Bunnies did it; they showed patience in that they were willing to solo at the right time, with no rush. This made the blissful compositions that much more significant. “Flood the Streets” was a very high point, starting out with a Talking Heads groove. It wasn’t until Sellas used the vocorder, that new wavetronica made complete sense. Erik Hyland’s drums were wailing away, as Demspey’s guitar screamed, and Sellas was just having a blast, along with everyone else.
When the band played “Mission: Possible”, they threw in a bit of dub, although it wasn’t clear if the dub sound was going to take away from the sound that was already a staple that evening. This seemed a tad disheartening, as it appeared there was no room for the darkness that dub brings to the happy bouncy feeling that had already been established. As with everything else, however, CDB knew what they were doing and used just enough to make it interesting. This tactic was used for the next few numbers, with a little more of the electronica then the new wave, but there were no complaints, as everyone was thoroughly enjoying themselves. The group continued to show their uniqueness by playing“Down”, a poppy radio friendly song. Sung by Beckett with passion, this song seemed like it meant more than words to him, as he sang from the heart. This would be the perfect song to hear on the radio, with a little guitar and key solos thrown in bit, but it wasn’t the focus of the song: the vocals and lyrics were. The Cosmic Dust Bunnies have started a new style of genre blending. This doesn’t seem to be a flash in the pan. New wavetronica could be the sound of the future.
Setlist: Gotcha>Moleculo>Gotcha, Emerald Zone, Flood The Streets, Mission: Possible, Cosmonauts, Down, Jay in My Life, Hipster Champagne