March 18th, Boogie Low held their CD Release Party at Syracuse’s Westcott Theater. Their self titled, debut album was recorded at Syracuse’s Subcat Studios and these guys hit the nail on the head and have a LOT to be proud of! Trying to summarize the evening, I keep coming around to a common theme and unfortunately this writing seems like a response to a grade school homework assignment that’s covered in lines and reads, “I admire (blank)” but don’t you worry, I think I’ve got some color to fill in the blank. Here goes.
Before I even get rolling I have to point out how admirable it is that the 315 really showed for the 315 and that two local bands can pack the house the way they did. The Westcott Theater was filled front to back with hundreds of fans and the energy was through the roof. I admire that Boogie Low invited their best pals, Barroom Philosophers, to open the show and share the spotlight on their big night, making it a Barroom Boogie, which is a whole other phenomenon on its own. The camaraderie between these two bands is unmatched, thick as molasses, almost to a disgusting level. There is ZERO competition between these two bands of brothers, along with ZERO ego. These guys support each other wholeheartedly with the sole purpose of making the music as good as it can be. Members of each band sit in with the other all the time. I can admire that they constantly intermix, however each band has a sound and style that is miles apart from the other, but still within the same demographic and THAT takes talent!
I admire the amount of support and respect these two bands have for each other. Each band were in the crowd, right down front, for the other’s performance instead of enjoying the green room. I noticed one thing that struck me as very gentlemanly and certainly a form of respect – the way Barroom Philosophers built their set list for this night. They opened with “Role Model” (rock song), followed by “Animal Is Caged” (blues rager). They played the rocker “Carry On” and even threw in a Zeppelin cover. Barroom Philosophers did not even touch upon the reggae side of their catalog until deep into their set, when Boogie Low’s Tommy Dennis sat in on bass to allow Ty Hancock to slide over to keys. Is was almost as if Barroom Philosophers were trying to acknowledge something like, “There’s no reggae in the room until Boogie Low is in the room!” Once Tommy joined, they played a steamy version of “Playing Dumb” (the most reggae sounding original in BP’s arsenal), followed by “Mountain High.” I’m not sure if it was a planned gesture or just the true nature of some good dudes shining through.
After a short break, Boogie Low hit the stage to celebrate the fruits of their labor in the studio. Immediately, the room is filled with reggae. They mixed the songs up and presented them in a different order than the CD, opening with the inspirational soul searcher “Eldin.” The whole show was great because the cd is great. “Annie”, “Tommy’s Song”, “Miss Bliss” – great, great, and great. I love the reggae carpet ride feel of “Colas In the Sky” and the message “Better Way” carries. “McKenna” is a powerful live song with a powerful message.They even threw 3 or 4 new songs into the mix, indicating that the future is bright in Boogie Land.
I feel the need to point out how much I admire Tommy Dennis’ work on the bass. The guy’s a fucking groove monger and puts so much into the big picture of this band. A special treat for the occasion – Ty Hancock of Barroom Philosophers and local great, Josh Alaniz, sat in on keys for most of the night. 95% of Boogie Low’s set included dual keyboards and they were 0% overpowering. They added so much to the music. So good! Barroom Philosophers’ Dave Koegel also jumped onstage for “Shadows.” Boogie Low closed their set with the album’s opener and I decided right then and their that “Mexico,” is by far my favorite Boogie Low song. I have a lot to say about this song but I will save it for another day. The CD Release Party concluded with a “Turn On Your Lovelight” encore.
Here’s the deal – Boogie Low’s rookie studio effort is a five star, knock it out of the park, grand slam, triple double, whatever other sports references that mean “Really fucking good” attempt at capturing their vibe and documenting it on record. No bones about it, no bullshitting, no fluff. It sounds cheesy and like I’m forcing a compliment, but the most honest and accurate compliment I can pay them is that the Boogie Low album is so damn listenable! I woke up the next morning and had to get ready for guests. Boogie Low is PERFECT Sunday morning music! I must admit, it did carry a bit of rogue, personal victory , kind of satisfaction to have a fleet of normals arrive – moms, aunts, grandmas, etc, have them enter and immediately compliment the music and recognize the tone of happy, all to the backdrop of “Colas In the Sky.”
Two things that should be at the very top of your “to do” list are to get the new Boogie Low CD, listen to it, and let it really soak in. Secondly, GET YOUR ASS TO A BARROOM BOOGIE! There is a reason why these local acts consistently pack a room more than some nationals and there is a reason we are always talking about it at upstatemusicandfood.com and it’s not because we can’t find other things to talk about.
PS – I admire that you read this far and didn’t throw up over all the admiration. It sounds like over the top ego stroking, but I assure you it’s all warranted. Follow steps one and two above and find out for yourself!
Boogie Low – https://www.facebook.com/boogielowmusic/
Barroom Philosophers – https://www.facebook.com/BarroomPhilosophers/
Author: George DiFabio