The Westcott Theater, a local Syracuse concert venue, showcased a plethora of hometown talent this weekend. Jimkata headlined the show promoting their new record In Motion that was released earlier this month. Although the Ithaca-based band was an hour away from their home city, this tour stop was quite close in comparison to the rest of their dates, as they’ll be hitting spots in Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, North Carolina, Connecticut, and more.
The show kicked off with CasaRoja, a soul/funk band featuring very accomplished student musicians from Syracuse University and SUNY ESF. The seven-piece band played a number of uniquely arranged covers like a sax rendition of “Crazy” by Gnarls Barkley, and a more upbeat take of “Eleanor Rigby.” They incorporated a number of improvised solos in their funky originals that kept the crowd on their toes. Vaporeyes, a Syracuse native band, was up next and enticed the crowd with their psychedelic/fusion jams. The only group not to feature a vocalist engaged the crowd with their catchy melodic ostinatos. This date preceded their show in Watertown and the release of An Evening With Vaporeyes II.
More than 250 people were in attendance at the start of Jimkata’s set, packed in close to the stage. The typical dimming of the house lights was paired with a swell of Disney-esque music- the kind of soundtrack that would accompany a ride queue in the Magic Kingdom. The orchestral surge went on for a couple of minutes, and the band finally took the stage.
The band opened with “Wild Ride,” a track off their album In Motion. The group sounded just like their recording, in a good way. Front man Evan Friedell was spot on with his vocals and could certainly deliver live. The bulk of their set list stemmed from In Motion and their 2012 album Die Digital. They only dug deep into their discography playing “One to Ten” from the 2009 release Burn My Money. The band used to have a fourth member, but seemed to manage with just three.
Freidell and drummer Packy Lunn definitely seemed to be working off of the crowd’s energy, especially off the loyal fans who knew the lyrics to most of the songs. Freidell’s energy and movement whilst hammering out guitar solos represented a sense of bliss that audiences love to see. Lunn played seemingly flawless fills while maintaining excited eye contact with audience members in the front row. Aaron Gorsch seemed to be immensely focused on covering both rhythm guitar and keys.
The light production of the event really elevated the show overall. Except for the blinding levels at times, the lights added a neon flair that was nicely contrasted the stark lack of light during instrumental breaks.
The group played their new pop/rock tracks with utter confidence that adequately promoted their new release. The only negative aspect to the show was the length of the set. Audience members seemed to lose a little steam as the night progressed, and there wasn’t an overwhelming chorus of chants indicating the desire for an encore. However, the three-song encore with “Ride the Wave,” “Die Digital,” and “Chain Store” was a sonorously well-played coda to end the night.
Set List: Wild Ride, Build Me Up, Electronic Stone, Jumping Out of Airplanes, Lego Land, Innocence, In the Moment, Beat the Curse, One to Ten, Feel In Light, Night Shade, Won’t Let You Down, American Cars
Encore: Ride the Wave, Die Digital, Chain Store