Formula 5 and the Strange Machines dumped record amounts of jam / funk / fusion rock on Syracuse this past Saturday, while Mother Nature was dumping record amounts of snow everywhere else on the east coast. I prefer the 26 inches of funk fusion I found at Funk ‘n Waffles downtown on January 23!
A perfect pairing of bands, this was the first time I have seen either outside of youtube and I thought they were both overly impressive! Strange Machines started the night with a lengthy opening set that shot well beyond the 1 hour mark. I’m not sure if the bill was set as a “duel headliner,” but it was nice that Formula 5 afforded the Strange Machines enough time to hit some musical stride, allowing the crowd to get a full taste of what they have to offer rather than merely excerpts of their talent.
Strange Machines are an impressive 4 piece band from Boston. To give it description, I would call it melodic jam music. It is tight, melodic, and shifts gears actively and smoothly. You get a tight mix of multiple genres all intertwined into one song. Their set was full of smoothly intermingled rock, reggae, funk, with some deep exploratory jams. Personal note – I love me some keyboard and Christian Perron confirmed for me why it is that one of my favorite four letter words is MOOG! This is a band that I really hope starts to frequent the Upstate New York area. (Pssst. Hey Strange Machines . . . Come to upstate NY more often!) If they do, be sure to get out and catch them! I sure will!
Formula 5 is a jam band out of Albany that have been making their way all around the Northeast, playing more and more. I’ve been noticing their names pop up on some key festival line ups lately. Check them out and it is easy to see why! Formed in 2012, these guys are real good at what they do. Their songs are full of catchy jams, punctuated by a drummer that has some good chops! One thing that I was most impressed with is that they were able to get out there a bit with the improvisation, even though their keyboard player is so new to the band I swear I saw some plastic wrap still left on him. Matt Richards is a great new addition on keys. This was his first tour with the band and Syracuse was only his sixth show with Formula 5. That being said, I can only assume these guys were riding safe musically and holding back to some extent. They still melted face! I can only imagine where they will get to when they get comfy and totally let loose. Bottom line – these guys jam, are full of talent, and I’m glad to see their name popping up on all the right posters.
I hate to make any of this about me, but I’d like to extend a personal thank you to both Strange Machines and Formula 5. You give me something new to pay attention to. One of my favorite bands that fell by the wayside far before their time was U-Melt. In my opinion, they were one of the best fusion jam bands around at the time and they are a band I’ve always missed. Ever since they disbanded, I have used them as a measuring stick for bands of that genre. It’s been a while since I’ve been reminded of U-Melt, or seen a band that even came close and Saturday night I was blown away by both bands in the same capacity. I couldn’t help but make the comparison in my mind all night long. Strange Machines and Formula 5 are perfect compliments to each other. Watching them, you can tell great things lie ahead. Be sure to catch either of these fine bands whenever you see their name, and you can be sure you are experiencing them on their way to bigger places!
We’ll make it as easy as possible for you. Here is all you need to find the skinny on both of these great talents! Check out their websites, grab a cd, you won’t be disappointed!
Oh, and by the way – Formula 5 will be returning to Funk ‘n Waffles in Syracuse with Teddy Midnight on 4/1. Now you have plenty of notice and no excuse to miss it. Mark your calendar for April fool’s.
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/StrangeMachines/
Website – http://www.strangemachinesband.com/
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/formula5music
Website – http://www.formula5music.com
CDs and Merch – https://formula5music.bandcamp.com/
Author: George DiFabio
Photos: Jerrie DiFabio