Capital Region jammers Formula 5 pulled out all the stops for their final All Points North album release party in Saratoga Springs in front of a full crowd of familiar faces and an exponentially growing fan base. After premiering the album in its entirety in New Haven with Relative Souls, the foursome decided to team up with the New Paltz-rooted The Other Brothers to serve up slices of true NY funk and soul on a Saturday night with a dirty laundry list of reasons to celebrate.
From 8pm-10pm, fans rolled through the Putnam Den doors to enjoy the likes of a free keg with The Other Brothers set slated to rock at 9 pm. With a 15-song set, the six-piece of Chris Owens (vocals), Brandon Bera (drums), Gabe Marquez (keys), John Morrison (Guitar), Jared Nelson (Percussion) and Jordan Mendelson (Bass) kicked off the night with their rock and roll origins, soulful captivation and soaring vocals. Having convened in 2012 at SUNY New Paltz, the group is in the midst of preparing their first studio album, Jones. Having played shows for a few years and acting as seasoned veterans on the Rock and Roll Resort lineup, it’s a bit surprising that they’re only releasing their first album. At the same time, it allows you to get in on the ground level and perhaps grow with a band you’ve never had the pleasure of seeing or listening to before.
From first impression, you could tell The Other Brothers’ sound and Owens’ powerhouse vocals provided a pleasing contrast to Formula 5 and what was to follow. As their set unraveled, each song found the front man, dressed in pale pink, rocking his hips back, forth and around town and further exploring his vault of dance moves. During a fun reggae-fusion tune, “These Cycles,” Owens’ charisma and onstage conversation demanded your attention–all that was left to do was listen and sway along with him. He often took the audience through anecdotes of how song titles came to be and strange one-off experiences that helped shape their musical contributions. It was hard not to keep your eyes locked on Nelson as his hands transitioned through tapping the congas and tossing a shaker, tambourine and rain stick for high points of the set, which also included Mendelson, sporting a Iron Maiden hockey jersey, impressively hitting quick tempo switches and odd time signatures on “Your Machine.” “Hit You Up” brought out the first guest of the night, Wavy Cunningham, to ease smooth tunes and a bit of rap into the set while the ending track of the night, “Levee for Free” had all fans on foot and Formula 5’s Joe Davis (also sporting pink) delivering tasty licks on guitar.
The eclectic group of six will open up for Vulfpeck’s Theo Katzman on April 19 at the famed Capitol Theatre in Portchester, NY. Looks like all is pointing North not only for Formula 5 but for these New Paltz natives as well.
The Other Brothers Set List:
Sleep Yo, Good Thing, The Man, Don’t Mean A Thing, Love Recedes, These Cycles, K2 in the Bathroom, New Friends, Can I Get It?, Why You Are, Hit You Up*, Game Show Radio, Your Machine, Bound, Levee for Free*
* Wavy Cunningham
$ Joe Davis from Formula 5 on guitar
After a short introduction from a sincerely grateful and proud band manager, Pete Mason, Formula 5 immediately launched into their double header with transcending energy and multicolored lights boasting “F” and “5” from the top corners of the stage.
Having transformed a Kickstarter goal into reality, Joe, Matt, Greg and James long awaited the night’s celebrations after pouring endless amounts of effort into their third studio album which follows their self titled debut album, April 2014’s Edging on Catastrophe and one live album, Live Five Vol. 1. The quartet implemented some classic strategies as well as newfound ways to draw a dancing crowd to their Putnam Den gig. Joe and Matt dedicated a few hours of their day to Albany’s own Madison Avenue Ben and Jerry’s shop on free cone day to dish out tasty frozen treats to Albany locals, hand out fliers for the album release show and spin their newest record to listening ears and the hungry humans attached to them–talk about a marketing triple threat.
Set one presented All Points North front to back, with friends Phil Chow on trumpet and Bryan Brundige of The Chronicles on trombone during “It Goes” paired with a loud exclamation of “I love horn-ula 5!” from the depths of the crowd. Not only did Brundige lend a helping horn on stage, he handles audio engineering at OverIt Media and aided the guys through their All Points North journey in the studio. A long set break brought set two, chock full of covers, a “Tweezer” tease and a loaded surprise sit in. Following a jam and “Booher’s Pass,” moe.’s own Vinnie Amico took to the drum kit during “Pedro” to sit in for the group’s drummer, Greg Marek. The two seamlessly transitioned on and off stage while Marek used his surroundings to aid the beat before smoothly dipping back behind the kit and mouthing a sincere “thank you” to the moe. veteran. Amico’s presence was unplanned, making the surprise sit in all the more sweet. The seasoned drummer happened to be hanging in the Saratoga venue before wandering into the back room and admitting he was a Formula 5 fan and excited to see their set. From there, an organic sit in blossomed to cap off an already exceptional night.
Next up was a double header of covers with Don Henley’s “Dirty Laundry” and Steely Dan’s “Hey Nineteen,” band and fan favorites alike. Appropriately closing out a night of well deserved festivities and completing a pretty solid song cover trifecta, the night was wrapped up into a funky package with a Phish phavorite, “Run Like An Antelope.” Keeping the momentum rolling the next day, the guys announced their participation at The Werk Out Music and Arts Festival alongside Dopapod, Emancipator, BIG Something, Spafford and more. They’ll keep the grooves going with a continued Spring 2017 tour as summertime bliss will bring Formula 5 tunes not only to the festival circuit but directly to phans during the Madison Square Garden Baker’s Dozen run.
Formula 5 Set List:
Set I: (“All Points North”)
Come Along, Sad Bed*, Trout Waters, Pt. I & II, It Goes…^, Excalibur, The Birch Tree^, Q&A, Do Tell^, Figure Out A Feeling^
Jam -> Booher’s Pass, Pedro$, Dirty Laundry$, Hey Nineteen!
E: Run Like An Antelope~
^ Phil Chow on trumpet, Bryan Brundige on Trombone
$Don Henley cover
! Steely Dan cover
~ Phish cover