“You’re the best trio in the history of music!” a zealous fan shouted between songs during Consider the Source‘s heavy rock set on Friday, July 25. Some whoops of agreement went up from the crowd of approximately 200 at The Hollow, a bar/concert venue on Pearl Street in Albany. No one disputed the claim.
CTS took the stage after Ampevene, a young local quartet, who showed that the future of rock is in able hands. They opened the night with a jazzy set of originals and a cover of Pink Floyd’s “Have A Cigar”. Ampevene played for nearly an hour before Consider the Source came on around 11, looking sharp in their white business linens. The crowd, which was energetic all night, moved up and in to get a better look at the Sourcerors in action.
Gabriel Marin was the first to melt faces during “You Go Squish Now”.
Marin slid his fingers gracefully up and down the top neck of his fretless guitar. Jeff Mann started the night with a pair of mallets rolling on the drums and John Ferrara—the Ferrari of bassists—came out slapping his 5-string. The trio showed their versatility immediately with a section of hard rock that became a Middle Eastern tango for three of four measures, then Mann’s double-bass drumming kicked the jam into metal before they transitioned back to jazz. Ferrara, semi-crouched, smiling, and slapping, faced Marin and the two dueled it out for the last-minute of the tune.
During “Abdiel”, Marin flipped a switch on his custom double-necked guitar and was suddenly playing a velvety trumpet solo. When he gave his fingertips a moment to cool off, Mann and Ferrara went back and forth, trading drum and bass solos respectively. Throughout the set, Marin manipulated trumpet, flute, banjo, and oboe-esque notes from his axe. The twenty-foot ceilings in The Hollow created great acoustics for Marin and company to jam in.
CTS blends a myriad of genres and influences into elegantly composed songs with unique movements and stanzas. The show in Albany was an epic instrumental journey, featuring the stunt guitar, bone-rattling bass, and Mann doing his best Animal impression on the drums. The set played out more like a unified rock opera than a dozen individual songs. “__/” (the title is a hand symbol), began with Ferrara soloing and cradling his bass like a baby, as his left hand flew up and down the neck and his right hand alternated between tapping and slapping. Marin and Mann joined in, as the jam had a pure rock feel to it and a grandiosity reminiscent of Umphrey’s McGee’s “All In Time”. While most of the ride was dark and spacey like “__/”, “Tihai For The Straight Guy” was a warm reprieve in the middle of the set.
“We’ve been all over the world,” Ferrara said at one point, “but we are right where we want to be tonight! You guys have so much energy!”
The front half of the venue was packed with wide-eyed and slack-jawed enthusiasts squished in to get a close-up view. When not induced into dancing, listeners stood on tip-toes trying to get a better look at the Sourcerors operating their instruments with surgical precision.
Toward the end of the set, Marin showed his mean streak during “I’ll Fight For The Imp”. He played with an apparently disgruntled attitude, punishing his guitar for unknown crimes. Most of the night, however, he looked like a violin savant fitting of the name Gabriel, fingering his custom guitar with deliberate movements of massive fingers. He shredded with a cool, calm composure, making intricate solos appear effortless. While he may be the most eloquent guitar player on the rock circuit, he may not even be the best string player in the band. Imagine the ’90s Bulls. Now, imagine them with LeBron on the team, too. You can debate either way which of Marin and Ferrara are Michael and LeBron. Mann—who reminded the crowd during the encore, “it’s Friday night; I want you to push that fuckin’ rock button!”—is unarguably Pippen, valiantly rocking the most under-appreciable position in music.
During the encore, the Sourcerors each showed their prowess one last time. Mann busted out his electric drum pad and Ferrara played a solo that incorporated classical plucking and heavy womping. Marin jettisoned his hat and, with his long golden hair flowing free, pumped out spacey laser sounds. The Hollow was rocking as Consider the Source proved that rock is far from dead.
Set list: Wandering Bear, Abdiel, Ninjanuity , __/, Tihai For The Straight Guy, Absence Of A Prominent Tooth, The Great Circuiting, I’ll Fight For The Imp, Keep Your Pimp Hand Strong
Encore: Ol’ Chomper