On what felt like the first Buffalo weekend it actually felt like fall, a band from Cleveland made their first appearance at Nietzche’s on Friday, October 21st. While many other bars nearby in Buffalo’s Allentown district had people flocking in from the cold, this establishment had quite the treat in Vibe & Direct.
The band, made up of Doug Rab on bass, Mike Miller on guitar and electronic effects, and Danny Giannetto on drums, plays a self-described psychelectrojam dance party. It comes down to Miller playing his guitar in a blues-smooth jazz sounding style, with plenty of fast strumming thrown in, Rab bouncing around on bass wearing his lensless green sunglasses, poofball golf hat, and shirt saying “Electrolytes, it’s what plants crave,” and Giannetto throwing off drum licks like Carter Beauford of the Dave Matthews Band.
Despite the band’s proclamation of psychelectrojam, the jam part is what stands out most. The psychelectro aspects didn’t feature in every song, they moreso enhanced, but that didn’t stop the audience there from bobbing their heads along with the sharp beats. A band engaging in lengthy jam sessions needs to know where the other members are heading, chord-wise and tempo-wise, so that the entire song doesn’t fall apart. Thank goodness these players have those skills. No matter where they were in the middle of their various jams, nobody gave the impression they were lost, nor struggling.
The song that best epitomized Vibe & Direct’s set and style was a cover of Seals & Croft’s “Summer Breeze,” from early in the set. It started off respectable enough, channeling the same yacht rock vibe the original captures. But once the first 3 minutes of the song were up, they went on an original jam session that had you forgetting they were playing a cover. It was a shame they had to take a 10-minute break after finishing because of technical difficulties involving Miller’s computer.
Vibe & Direct kept at it until 2 am, playing through roughly two and a half hours with an intermission. It was also the night the Chicago Cubs won the National League pennant, and will face the band’s hometown Cleveland Indians in the World Series. Miller had to make a comment that two championships for Cleveland in one year would be too much for him. They certainly kept those huddling in the cramped standing space entertained, and no doubt those listening at the bar or passing by outside could find something to like too.