We’re on the cusp of festival season here in the Northeast. Time to start finalizing plans on which events to attend and purchase those tickets you’ve been putting off. Some festivals present preview events to showcase some of the artists at their event. It’s a great way to use the raw talent of participating bands to pull in those who are still undecided on their summer plans.
Those who had the pleasure of seeing Hayley Jane and the Primates and Formula 5 at the Bearsville Theater in Woodstock, NY on May 13 likely have made an easy decision to check them out at Disc Jam, June 9 – 12 in Stephentown.
This “Road to Disc Jam” event kicked off with Hayley Jane and Justin Hancock of Hayley Jane and the Primates. Although the show was originally booked as just being the two of them, after one song they were joined by bassist Josh Carter and then by original drummer Jesse Hayes.
Hayley Jane belted out the vocals during “Put the Lime in the Coconut” into the Grateful Dead’s “New Speedway Boogie” to the delight of fans who eagerly sing along. Hayley Jane’s stage presence is theatrical and entertaining. Her facial expressions and body language are reminiscent of a Broadway actor. The old-timey grit of it conjures up images of Vaudville.
During “Mama,” Carter had an opportunity to really let loose on what appeared to be a miniature bass. The petite size of his instrument is just the opposite of the sound that emerged. A new song, “Charlie Parker,” is a soulful song that demonstrates Hayley Jane’s talents as both a singer and story teller.
This evening is the second show of Formula 5’s extensive summer tour that includes upcoming shows in Rochester on May 19, Canandaigua on May 20, and Apalachin on May 21. They opened with “Earthbound Tim,” a funky tune that quickly faded into an incredibly spaced out jam. Picture yourself falling down the rabbit hole with screeching organ notes and intense guitar riffs. Someone in the crowd commented that it reminded him of Halloween, fitting for a Friday the 13th show.
Then, as if to provide a lighthearted relief, Formula 5 busted out a new tune, “Do Tell,” that made the crowd smile as Matt Richards sang what could easily be a lounge song, while gliding across the keys. It is soulful, playful and again allows them to dive into a lengthy jam.
During “Excalibur,” bassist James Woods laid down the foundation for an up-beat and funky tune that some may find similar to that of the Talking Heads’ “Life During Wartime.” It actually works nicely in their setlist as they did a bold cover of “Burning Down the House” later on in which guitarist Joe Davis channeled his best David Byrne. In between, a new song “Sad Bed” was worked in. This song is about the sorry state of their friend’s hotel cot after a particularly fun Phish run, a glimpse into their sense of humor. There was an extra bell added to Greg Marek’s drumming, giving the tune a calypso feel before allowing Bell to exhibit a more bluesy segment on the guitar.
Formula 5 put a cap on the evening with a cover of Vulfpeck’s “It Gets Funkier,” in which they were clearly having a good time. Woods kept the crowd grooving to the low hop of the bass, while Richards wailed on the keys.
If anyone in the crowd was still considering going to Disc Jam, the performances of Hayley Jane and the Primates and Formula 5 likely moved them from “maybe” to “definite.”
Setlist: Earthbound Tim*-> Do Tell -> Bearsville Jam -> Excalibur, Sad Bed* -> Burning Down The House&-> Sad Bed, Floating
Encore: Pedro*>It Gets Funkier@
& Talking Heads cover
@ Vulfpeck cover