UpHill Funk You Up: Ampevene at Funk n’ Waffles, March 12

Last weekend, Funk ‘n Waffles up on the hill showcased two great bands: progressive rock band Ampevene and funky reggae and rock band Barroom Philosophers.

The show kicked off with Barroom Philosophers from Seneca Knolls.  The group lists David Koegel (vocals), Joshua Way (guitar), Ty Hancock (bass and keys) and Brenden Boshart (drums) as their core members, but for this show, they had another member playing some guitar and some beats on conga.  The added layers of texture made for a nice and fuller sound. They added a vintage touch to the visual aspect of the show with a lit sign of their band name on the keyboard stand.  David Koegel really seemed to give it his all singing and they really brought the funk to the funky venue.

Ampevene took the stage, but a few folks were thrown off by the brief soundcheck thinking that was the beginning of the show.  This group featured Gabe Stallman on guitar, Mack Hogan on bass, Ava Smith on keys, and Bob Morris on drums.  They were all very talented musicians that really didn’t visibly vibe off of one another, but rather they aurally honed in on what the others were doing.  The synth player was so focused; she kept her head glued to the keys and would ditch her seat entirely during intense bits of the show. It was cool to see them transition between instruments taking over for a solo or short feature.  The synth added a unique flair with some awesome intergalactic timbre.  Vocal interjections were few and far between, but they matched the established instrumental prowess.  Their set was all business. There was no dialogue about the band or their tracks in between numbers and they moved seamlessly from song to song.  It was refreshing not to hear, “Hi we’re [insert band name], please like us on [insert social media].”  They truly were engaged with their sound and didn’t distract from that.

The biggest bummer of the night was the lacking crowd because students at Syracuse University were off on spring break and couldn’t come out to the show.  However, it was a successful show for both bands in terms of talent and execution.