The recently redesigned Putnam Place hosted Formula 5 and Strange Machines on Saturday, February 10, welcoming fans of the jam heavy acts to a practically brand new venue. The formerly dark and industrial club has been transformed into a warm and inviting spot. With painted drywall covering what used to be old concrete and pipes, and a new back area with seating and a walkway, Putnam Place has positioned itself to remain the front running rock club in the Capital District for years to come.
Strange Machines kicked off the night with an hour-plus set, featuring a few selections off their latest release Voice of Color to start the set. If you haven’t checked out their release, you’ll find yourself enjoying an album that builds through each song and across the album. The highlight of the set was a cover of Talking Heads’ “This Must be the Place (Naive Melody),” and for once, a jam band actually jammed on it. The tune has been performed by String Cheese Incident, Umphrey’s McGee, Keller Williams and countless others over the years, but rarely does it stretch beyond 5-6 minute range. With their lone cover of the night, Strange Machines found themselves dialed in with patience and perfection on an otherwise underutilized jam vehicle.
Formula 5 took the stage with an energized crowd full of familiar fans. Earlier in the day, keyboardist Matt Richards unsuccessfully petitioned fans to help him buy a pink crop top that he’d wear to the show, which was the first highlight of the evening. Apparently, no one wanted to witness that.
“I Got Your Back” set the tone for a rowdy evening. Guitarist Joe Davis took a short solo before the band settled into a short, full-band groove. A 34 minute version of “The Birch Tree” bled into “Sad Bed” to wrap up the set. The new tune “Breaking Glass” was another lengthy improv of tonight, with “Earthbound Tim” and “Thelonious” pairing quite well. Later, “3 Ring Circus” saw the group extend the song to nearly 27 minutes, with extreme funk and in your face rock and space exploration, before settling into the conclusion of “Earthbound Tim.”
Catch Strange Machines this weekend in Charlottesville, VA at The Ante Room and Saturday at Tellus360 in Lancaster, PA. Formula 5 will be in Providence, RI at Fete Music Hall on Friday with Swimmer, and B.R.Y.A.C. in Bridgeport, CT on Saturday.
Strange Machines setlist:
Motion Potion, Voice of Color, Shape of Things > Amorphous, Cornerstone, Wook in a Onesie > Moose Soup, Naive Melody, Canopy
Formula 5 setlist:
Set 1: Trout Waters, Pt. I & II, I Got Your Back, The Birch Tree > Sad Bed
Set 2: Breaking Glass, Earthbound Tim > Thelonius > Timmy’s Dream > 3 Ring Circus > Earthbound Tim
Encore: It Goes…