This Friday I had the pleasure of enjoying some of Chicago’s very finest in the jam funk scene: The Heard and The Main Squeeze at Concord Music Hall. The Heard are an absolute powerhouse of horn-driven funk. I’ve been blessed to enjoy the gift of their funky vibes on several occasions; first introduced at Summer Camp Music, and then as openers for nearly every major funk act that passed through Chicago the past couple years, from Dumpstaphunk to Lettuce. Their freshman release of this year is wonderful. Download it at theheardfunk.com.
Starting with a pair of 4-on-floor bangers, these gentlemen had the crowd moving from the start. Being down their lead sax player Lucus Elman surprisingly didn’t thin out their sound as I expected. In fact, their sound may have been the best mix I’ve heard (no pun intended) at Concord in the past three years.
The band was especially on point dynamically: building and peaking several times throughout the set particularly during the face melting solos of my favorite joint from the album “Safari Time” and a very topical Rage Against the Machine cover of Killing in the Name. The Heard are not to be missed if you at all value funk in your life. These men more than warmed up the stage, they nearly burnt it to the ground.
My first experience of The Main Squeeze was at Rootwire Music Festival 2013. I was immediately drawn to a particularly unique aspect of this band relative to the rest the jam band scene: the incredible vocals of Corey Frye.
While the everyman vocals of Jerry, Trey, Umphreys/ Moe and the like are charming and definitely have their place, it’s refreshing to hear a singer with seriously honed vocal chops. Corey’s combo of soul and range are unmatched as far as I’ve heard in the jam band circuit.
Tonight’s set was stacked with the best of old and new, with soaring guitar/keyboard battles between Max and Smiley, an endless bass solo by Jeremiah Hunt, an airtight groove that never left the pocket laid down by Rueben Gingrich, and another Rage cover of Bulls on Parade. There were points of the set where not a soul could stand still on the dance floor. The Squeeze were at home tonight in Chitown.
Mind Your Head is their terrific sophomore record released this year. Find out more at http://www.mainsqueezemusic.com/