Saturday, January 7th was a special night for the Barroom Philosophers as they headlined Funk n’ Waffles downtown with their pals Boogie Low and Infrared Radiation Orchestra. The house was full and the atmosphere electric, proving that music in the 315 in so alive right now. Big named national acts often tend to skip over Syracuse when they run through NYS. With bands like this putting out music of this caliber, you’d never know something might be missing here!
The first band of the night was Infrared Radiation Orchestra. They are an eclectic four piece from Upstate NY. They have a real unique style and I like it a lot. It’s almost like MTV Closet Classics meets modern new wave, like a psychedelic Reverend Horton Heat. If I were to try to give you a point of reference, I’d say they sound like the love child of Brian Setzer and the lady in the B52s with the beehive hairdo. One thing stood out to me above all else – they use a Theremin regularly in their music. More than that, it’s the first time I’ve ever seen one used for something melodic and not just to add weird factor. I have only seen them used to add the weird, screechy, “Trying to radio aliens on Jupiter” sound. To be quite honest, I never knew it could be controlled melodically which obviously requires a fair amount of talent, otherwise it would be more commonplace. Infrared Radiation Orchestra’s opening set was mostly original material from their multiple albums, and also featured a great cover of the Kinks’ “You Really Got Me” mashed up with the Munsters theme. They also included classics, “The Walrus” and “2000 Light Years” in their set.
The second band of the night was Boogie Low, the powerhouse jam band from Syracuse. No strangers to the scene, Boogie Low has been busy creating. They just released 3 new songs on Reverbnation from their upcoming album. They really got jamming at Funk n’ Waffles when they invited members of Barroom Philosophers onstage to join them for a few numbers. Boogie Low has this power to them that gets people going. Guitarist Matthew West’s playing sometimes reminds me of the soundtrack to either a Quentin Tarantino movie, or a good old Western. Boogie Low are a good time!
Finally, it was time for the Barroom Philosophers to mark a career milestone and make this night theirs. Ever appropriately, they opened their headlining set at Funk n’ Waffles with “Billion Pound Babies,” the funkiest original from their debut album that is due to be released February 3rd. They went from funk to blues, with the ultra bluesy original “Animal is Caged.” Barroom Philosophers are a rock band that infuses multiple genres in a performance before the end of a set. Funk rock, blues rock, they also have a fondness for reggae. They gave up the classic cover “I Shot the Sheriff,” before sharing some new music. These guys have so much creative momentum right now, they have new songs to share that they wrote since they recorded their debut album. You know, that one I was talking about earlier. The one THAT HASN’T EVEN COME OUT YET!
Vocalist Dave Koegel introduced the first of a few new gems. A song titled, “Crystallized,” this tune really caught my attention. It starts slow and ballady. Not cheesy ballad, but heartfelt, and then – SLAM into a disco dance party. Who doesn’t like a disco dance party? And then – SLAM straight back into ballad city for the next verse, then a buildup, and SLAM back into disco funk party. To be more precise, Dave really should have introduced it as, “Your next favorite Barroom Philosophers song” because, just – holy shit.
Tommy Dennis from Boogie Low joined on bass for “Dune” which had a real nice “Fire on the Mountain” segue in the middle. They played some more originals that will be featured on their record. They included “Peter Parker,” which has been released as their new single.
Another new song, titled “Digital Demise,“ has some great and witty lyrics. They added the bluesy “Thief” before finishing their set with “Playing Dumb,” which happens to be the opening track of their new album. They finished the night with a fun encore of “Pawn Shop.”
Barroom Philosophers, the self titled debut album, is due to be released this Friday, February 3rd and will be available via all digital music retailers. The Barroom Philosophers will be celebrating that night with a CD Release Party at Syracuse’s legendary Lost Horizon. Admission is FREE so there is no reason you shouldn’t be there for a celebration of a truly great record.
Need some more convincing? Read our REVIEW of Barroom Philosophers HERE
Author: George DiFabio
Photography: Jerrie DiFabio