Photos by Duncan Chaboudy and Lori Sky Twohy
The crowd expected nothing less than a “sure thing” from Perpetual Groove at Asheville Music Hall on Saturday night. Even before the 80’s,Athens,Georgia has seemed to have produced creative artists who craft music for the greater good. On this night, Perpetual Groove’s Brock Butler, Adam Perry, Albert Suttle, and Matt McDonald gave us a look inside to what professional songwriting and performance is all about.
The club was at full. It seemed that everyone who was expected to be there – was there. The band navigated two intensely electrified sets into the hearts and minds of the crowd with a variety of rhythms, tones, and transitions. Chest cracking beats were brought forth by Albert Suttle’s plexi-shelled Ludwig drum kit, which was dialed in through the house PA system with precision and volume. Mathew McDonald’s very modern keyboard sounds charged the air like the seconds before a lightning strike. Matt used some traditional keyboard patches and effects, but often took the tones well into electronica territory. The vibration in the crowds knees was the result of Adam Perry pulling double duty on bass guitar and a Moog synth (for some rich sub-low sound reinforcement). Front man Brock Butler always kept the listener engaged with his premium guitar tones that were seasoned with a matrix of high-end stomp boxes and a Fender Blues Junior. His over-driven guitar tone and thought-provoking effects added an edgy rock texture to the band’s massive wave of crowd moving sound. The amazing interactive light show complimented the band’s performance like a custom picture frame.
Perpetual Groove had many electronic effects in their arsenal and used them with expert discretion. It was apparent that every keyboard setting, rack effect, and stomp box had its particular purpose in every measure of every song. The vocals were very dynamic ranging from a humble/raspy swagger to a more aggressive and focused prog-rock attack. The two sets that Perpetual Groove performed were well constructed with the right dynamics to keep the fans moving continuously. Long instrumental passages were woven together by each member taking their time to incrementally alter their tone and musical part to build tension (that could sometimes last for many minutes) leading up to a dramatic transition.
The name of the band suggests the genre of jam band. They classify themselves as rock/jam. It is worth pointing out the fact that the rock element was definitely there. One part of a song would fill the room with beautiful tones, reminiscent of Robert Plant’s “I’m in the Mood.” Another song might have a reggae drum and bass rhythm while the keys and guitar launch into distorted/chaotic bliss. Still, other songs might suggest a Muse-like anthem leaving Rundgrenesque vapor trails behind.
Throughout the show, I forgot that I was in Asheville. I felt like I was in a club in Miami or New York. The sound, lights, performance, and constantly moving crowd made me feel like I was on vacation.
Keep up to date on Perpetual Groove’s tour and music news by visiting www.pgroove.com.