If you’re hip to The Nth Power, you know that they preach the power of love and have become a musical sanctuary for that message. Drummer Nikki Glaspie took some time during their set in Buffalo and told the crowd, “The purpose is to share love with all of you and to share love with the world because there’s not enough.” When the band made their stop last Friday before their Saturday night Chill, the group and city came out to share in the compassion for one another.
With anything love related, you have to be careful not to get in too deep, too fast. So let’s take a step back and start at the beginning, where most love stories start. The Friday night began on the earlier side for typical Buffalonians with Jamestown’s smackdab starting things just before nine. The band has been an area staple for funk for quite some time now and really knows their own strengths, playing to them specifically at shows. The group is fronted by vocalist Jon Marc Johnson whose strength and power has the ability to draw you in. The rhythm this group has is like none other in the area as they’re anchored by thick cuts from bassist Ryan Ecklund and precision stickwork from drummer Daniel Witherspoon. Their music though has so many different facets and that’s largely due to the melodies that are being crafted around everything.
During one particular section, keyboardist Mark Cooper laid down a heavy synth section that propelled a psychedelic drift into a borderline metal tear. The group may be heavy on the funk side, but they dabble and take some exploratory jamming out into other areas right in stride. At times, the band would slide into some more jam-heavy segments that were slow and droney, conjuring up sounds that were akin to Pink Floyd and The Doors having a funky little baby.
It was the perfect pairing for the night as the band’s sound complimented The Nth Power’s well and the crowd enjoyed the smackdab set overall. If we’re back on the topic of love though, this was simply the first date and Buffalo was already tripping over their words in anticipation for more.
For a little taste of smackdab, check out a video of their song “First and Main” from their set. The video is brought to you by our friends at Buffalo.fm.
As The Nth Power took the stage, Buffalo gave a warm welcoming to the group being that it was their first appearance in the Queen City. After a few bars of an intro, the band dove head first into “Spirits”, easily an early favorite with its haunting melody and fat bass line. It might’ve been early on in the relationship, but this band was not shy about bringing it early on. Percussionist Weedie Braimah played off of the rhythm from Nikki Glaspie, adding an incredible range of percussive sounds to the overall color of the song. With no setlists visible, it seemed as though this band was just going to feel its way through the set.
While the drumming from Weedie and Nikki was a powerful force in and of itself, it seemed the crowd couldn’t take their eyes off of the front of the stage where guitarist Nick Cassarino bobbed and danced as he plucked his strings and felt every note through the expressions on his face. His energy and presence alone had the crowd charged and equally feeling the same emotions that Cassarino was going through. The excitement he brought not only fueled the crowd, but the band seemingly fed off of it as well, engaging each of them deeper into the music. Love usually takes time to develop, but when you’re this passionate, you can quickly fall head over heels for what’s being created, and the crowd in Buffalo that night was all in.
Throughout their set, you could tell that the band was communicating through a romantic language that was in the music vernacular. At one point, Nick Cassarino asked each member how they were feeling to which each responded with a strike of a key or a hit on their drum. They were feeling good and the eye contact and shared smiles were an easy indicator from the beginning. Not wanting to leave the crowd out, Cassarino also asked the crowd, “Does it feel good to you?”, to which the crowd responded with a heartfelt scream.
It was easy to get swept away in the compassionate delivery of The Nth Power’s music. Each member added so much to the music itself, but also to the overall performance. Bassist Nate Edgar was another who you could physically see was feeling the music. As he swayed along to the beat, he would not only keep up rhythmically with Nikki Glaspie’s superb drumming, but also dance around the melody and support Nick and Nigel in where they were headed throughout a song. It’s a daunting task that Nate not only handled, but challenged the other band members at times with some colorful bass runs of his own.
When falling in love, there’s usually several factors that add up to the infatuation, and the same can be said about the band. It’s not just one member that does it, it’s their collective efforts that builds them up that high. At one point during their set, percussionist Weedie Braimah took a solo that really showcased his prowess and what he adds. The man was literally combing out a rhythm with his fingers on his djembe, pulling every possible note, yes I said note, that is possible through pure precision. A thrusting beat came barreling out of the solo with which drummer Nikki Glaspie and the rest of the band jumped on, bringing the remaining sitters to their feet. The band’s control over the mood and feel in the room was apparent as they could lift the crowd before gently laying them down. In the same way Cassarino’s axe could cut, his voice could simultaneously cull the deepest of woes with grace and pure empathy. Every part of this band fits together like a puzzle, filling in the proper gaps, while leave the right amount of space.
The band wrapped up the lovefest with “Soul Survivor” as an encore, unleashing blinding rhythmic speeds and a guitar solo that was dropped like a bomb on the crowd. Since they initially walked off to a chant of “ten more songs”, I guess the band wanted to pack the power of ten into one. The power of love is strong and if you don’t know that, you need to check this band out and feel it for yourself. Leaving the venue, you could tell everyone still had butterflies in their stomach as they went through a rollercoaster of emotions and were walking on clouds being simply uplifted. There’s something special about this band and it’s amazing and exciting at the same time that this is only the beginning.
As mentioned earlier, “Spirits” was an early favorite from The Nth Power. Watch the video of the song here from that night:
The Nth Power:
After the show, The Nth Power was gracious enough to sit down with us for an interview. Here are some shots from after their set and the interview itself. We want to thank our friends at Buffalo.fm for all of the video from the night and to The Nth Power for taking the time. Buffalo and NYS Music love you right back!