The event known as 3 Days Later began at 5 p.m. on the UC patio on Friday. Who starts a show at 5 p.m. anyway? Needless to say, I missed the two opening bands Empirical Mile and Way of the Groove. Empirical Mile is a local rock band made up of five students attending the UM School of Music. Samples and show dates can be found at empiricalmile.com.
Way of the Groove followed EM, leading off a 3 band streak of funk. WOTG played long, mellow grooves characterized by jazzy guitars and often sparse lyrics. Two of the band’s four members, Julius and Felix Pastorius, are the sons of Jazz great Jaco Pastorius.
By the time Texas band The Greyhounds took the stage, there were about 30 people on the UC patio, and maybe a dozen of them were actually standing up. The Greyhounds took it in stride though, and lead singer and guitarist Andrew who shared several anecdotes involving the ‘Canes beating his beloved University of Texas in football, his girlfriend and the Texas A&M high dive, and several public service announcements alerting the innocent college audience of the perils of drugs and alcohol. He admitted the show was “at least as good as the high dive, if not better.” The Greyhounds mostly played mellow funk dominated by keys with a few fun drum solos and electric guitar techniques. Some of their songs did drone a bit, as funk will tend to do. For people who like the style of music it’s great, for those of us with shorter attention spans it gets old after a little while. After the band left the stage for some cotton candy (Andrew just would not shut up about that cotton candy), it was time for Big Fuzz.
By the middle of Big Fuzz’s set the audience had mushroomed to a few hundred people, including some confused senior citizens who had wondered over from a recital at the School of Music. Big Fuzz’s sound was defined by long breakdowns driven by “Fuzz” himself on the electric guitar and Rob Somerville on the tenor sax. For the most part, the other three band members (keys, drums, and bass) remained in the background. They were also definitely the most mainstream band, a few of their songs even containing a chorus. There was surprising variation between those mainstream songs and some of their extended, mostly instrumental grooves. About 30 or 40 people were actually dancing to the more upbeat “old-school funk and soul” (as described at bigfuzz.net). The dancing audience was definitely into Big Fuzz’s set, but the attitude of most of the people sitting in and around the patio was that of the security guards’ who had more fun playing Jenga than watching the band. The highlight of Big Fuzz’s set however, were covers of James Brown and the Beatles, alongside their raucous, high-energy encore which snapped me out of my funk-induced reverie.
This concert has to be described as a disappointment, but not really because of the music. The Greyhounds and Big Fuzz delivered what was expected of them, over 3 hours of funk enthused beats. It was the low turn-out and the general apathy of half the audience that was disheartening. Regardless, if you showed up and liked funk style of music, then you left the patio happy.
Matt Dingerdissen can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org