Three Not-To-Miss Bands at The Peach: Lotus, Galactic, and Dopapod
Sensible Reason has filled you in on the lineup and the headliners, but who else will be at Scranton’s Peach Music Festival this year that you should go out of your way to check out? I’ll tell you about a few of them. The one thing they all share in common? Diversity of sound.
Lotus is a five-piece instrumental ensemble that cannot be simply pigeon-holed into one genre or another. They are a constantly evolving experiment in music that are adept in the skills of both live improv as well as finely tuned, complex classical music composition. Over the past six months, Lotus has shown both new fans and skeptical old fans that their roots in improv remain a huge part of what this band is – their performance at the National in Richmond, VA on March 16 is a prime example. In any single set you’ll find elements of funk, jazz, post-rock, classic rock, electronica, and more. They’ve also put out a new album this past February called Build which, despite criticism from some older fans of being “too electronic,” is arguably their most compositionally complex album. It was recorded live to analog tape in Philadelphia and St. Louis with help from the horns section of Rubblebucket in addition to the live drums, guitar, bass, Hammond organ, upright piano, analog synths, and percussion, supplied as always by the five band members themselves. And in the next month or so, the band will come out with yet another new album, this time showcasing Lotus’s newest experimentation in genres – hip hop. Whatever your musical preference, you are sure to find something you like about Lotus, making them my top choice of bands not to miss at the Peach this year.
Galactic, another instrumental quintet, brings New Orleans funk to a whole new level. One of their unique traits is their work with guest vocalists and soloists, both live and in studio. The five musicians at the core of this band have played together for over eighteen years, but, despite their lack of a lead singer for years, that hasn’t stopped them from making music (both live and recorded) that includes vocals. Their performances and recordings have featured Theryl DeClouet (original lead singer), Living Colour’s Corey Glover (the main guest vocalist, who began appearing onstage with the band in 2010), and (most recently) the Revivalists’ David Shaw. The band is noted for its guest instrumentalists as well, and they have welcomed to the stage numerous talented musicians including New Orleans staples Corey “Boe Money” Henry of Rebirth Brass Band (on trombone), Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews of Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue (on trumpet and trombone), bassist George Porter, Jr. of the Meters, and guitarist Brian Seeger. Galactic has also evolved beyond classic New Orleans funk to incorporate elements of hip hop, electronica, fusion, and jazz. This diversity keeps their music from becoming predictable, and makes for a performance you should go out of your way to catch this August.
Dopapod is the newest band to the scene on my list of not-to-miss acts at the Peach. This classically-trained quartet from Berklee College of Music in Boston may be young, but don’t let this fool you into thinking they don’t have the musical chops to play with the big boys. In any one set, you may feel like you’ve been delivered into a dark and eerie circus, an intergalactic adventure, an underwater wonderland, and a wild action-packed video game (sometimes you’ll even visit multiple worlds within just one song). The bio on their website sums it up better than I ever could: “They are an electronic band without computers. They are a metal band with groove and soul. They are a funk band that’s not afraid to get intricate.” Their music incorporates some of the best features of metal, classic rock, funk, soul, jam, jazz, and electronica, creating a sound that you aren’t likely to find elsewhere on the scene. Dopapod shows what a band can do with little more than pure instrumentalism, creativity, and a clear understanding of classical musicianship, and the result is something that you should not pass up.
Check these three groups out, along with many other spectacular acts, August 15-18 at Montage Mountain in Scranton, PA. You can find out more about the Peach Music Festival and where to buy tickets here.