Feel Free at Fontana’s on July 31

“They’re a poor man’s Galactic”, the banker in the dark charcoal suit standing next to me tells me. Though I have no idea what Galactic is, or what a suit is doing watching a self-proclaimed funky-reggae-rock-soul band playing at Fontana’s (I later learn that it’s an obscure jam-band, and they’re friends of the band from University of Miami), I nod my head in agreement anyway. The suit is soon joined by more men wearing brown herringbone skinny ties and I arrive at the conclusion that it’s corporate night at the music bar.

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As hard as it is to take these men in floral shirts with highjacked Jamaican accents from Washington seriously, it gets harder to maintain my level of cynicism a few minutes into their set. The crowd begis to sway with abandon to the jazz harmonies in “What A Time”, and not even the staff is immune to the hard hitting horn lines of “The Motions”. Feel Free even spews a lyric or two about having a thing for a girl with sleeve tattoos in “Popcorn and Alcohol”, a song built around a chord progression reminiscent of Young the Giant’s “West Virginia”, granting them major star power from the crowd.

Feel Free is by no means a band that’s going to ritually treat their hair the way it’s described in Chapter Six of the Book of Numbers, but there is no doubt that they will create genre-bending music that brings all sorts of people together. By the end of the night, everyone left Chinatown feeling free, thoroughly impressed by the band’s musicianship.