Kung Fu – December 12th, 2015 – Bulls Radio Concert Review

Written by Bertram Nicke
Who:
Holey Miss Moley and Kung Fu

When: December 12, 2015

Where: Crowbar

Ybor City, Tampa, FL

How: Moon Goddess Entertainment LLC

What: Preconceived Notions: Jam Music, A Summary of the Night’s Event Through the Eyes of Bertram Nicke and Tom Baumlin, Crowbar Venue Review, Holey Miss Moley Performance Review, Kung Fu Performance Review, Conclusion

Preconceived Notions: Jam Music

“How about this one?”

“It’s pretty cool.” It wasn’t.

“I think you’ll like this one.”

“It’s not bad.” Bad would be a stretch however it was closer to being bad than being good.

Maybe I should have been upfront sooner with Tom. We were leaving in an hour to cover Holy Miss Moley and Kung Fu at the Crowbar in historic Ybor City. The initial spark that led to Tom creating the website Intrinsic Eye that I write for was a jam band concert 4 years ago. I had agreed to write for the website months ago. I also never told him my true thoughts about jam music the countless times he played it while we hung out. And now at this moment the time was past ripe.

“Honestly Tom, jam band music does nothing for me. I can respect the musicianship of the performers but it will never be something I seek out when I want to listen to music.” That felt good.

Tom looked confused. “Really? What don’t you like about it?”

What I have found out from having my own radio show is that people tend to listen to your opinion when it comes to music. Even if that opinion is asinine. The microphone gives you sway.

I told Tom what I thought. The songs are too long compounded with the fact that it sounds like the same thing repeated. The structure bothered me. Plus I had never seen it in an intimate setting as opposed to one of my friends putting on a 3 hour youtube clip where the camera is transfixed on the guy with a 15 minute keyboard solo. I tend to hope it ends soon but it never does so then I hope silently that an asteroid hits earth. I acknowledged that it has to be pretty cool live and was looking forward to tonight for the show to change my opinion. At that point, however, the damage was done.

“It is amazing live. But I do understand what you are saying.” Tom quietly contemplated that as he put on more music. Oh no, what have I done? I have had my opinion on certain music changed from hearing someone I respect dislike it. Hopefully I did not forever alter his opinion on something he loves. Admittedly, that kind of power does arouse me.

A Summary of the Night’s Event Through the Eyes of Bertram Nicke and Tom Baumlin

Getting There

Neither of us wanted to drive because neither of us knew how much we wanted to drink. Tom’s motivation is completely based off of feel while I was prepared for the act drinking to be my main source of entertainment for the night.

After much passive gerrymandering, we split an Uber. 30 seconds after requesting the Uber Tiffany was at the wrong apartment complex across the street waiting for us. I couldn’t decide if she would be used to waiting for people in a job that sees her arrive for people waiting on her.

Moving forward is an intoxicating feeling. Often the moments that happen on the way to accomplishing something become the landmarks to how well we remember our lives. Tiffany, Tom, and myself come from starkly contrasting backgrounds yet we share the same vehicle that thrusts us forward into the night and the older versions of ourselves behind us back into the vacuum of time. Tom makes casual meta conversation in the front while I silently contemplate and observe the momentum of the night in the back. It was around a 20 minute trip narrated with topics of racism (Tiffany was black), religion, the website, public transportation, and politics. Tom is an incredible companion because small talk is his life’s greatest antagonist.

Parade

We get dropped off outside of the Ybor strip because A) 7th street was closed for a parade and B) we thought we were late. In the first 15 seconds of walking, Tom realizes he left his wallet on the passenger seat of Tiffany’s Nissan. Tom experiences forward in his own unique way: The big picture consumes his thoughts and somewhere details get lost. It took a minute to figure out how to call Tiffany through the Uber app. As we waited on the corner where we were dropped off at, floods of diverse families were exiting Ybor City and back to their lives.

I tried to piece together what this parade was for. Somewhere I forgot it was December 12th because I associate this time of year with the frozen, snowy, tundra floor of Michigan and not the beautiful tropical climate I was experiencing. Moving backwards usual annoys me but the weather and the people watching made the short wait for Tom’s wallet pleasant.

As we entered the gaping maw of Ybor we both mulled over the strange vibe of an area post-parade. We only casually stride into the parade aftermath but for the people leaving this was the culmination of their community. Now it’s over and night in Ybor is retaken by the seekers. I decide feeling bad about this is futile.

In a surprise, the company in charge of the parade barricades is none other than Bradenton based USA Fence. My father is an executive over there and USA Fence employed me when I moved to Florida around a year ago. As we make our way further into the throat of Ybor, I recognize that the workers wading through the crowd to break down the barricades are my friends.

My boy Rod, a dreadlocked, powerfully built 6 feet 6 inch island behemoth lets out a guttural “Sheeeeeeeeeeeeet!” as we high five and chest bump. Rod makes a remark about how I should find him the one thing he loves above all else on earth: big girls. Speaking of big, Big Steve gives me a fist bump and wishes me luck in fantasy football as workers load his forklift with barricades. The head of the parade division, a huge country boy aptly named Beau gives me the business because I was asked to help this particular event. I refused earlier in the week but it must have slipped my mind and now I am buzzed stumbling around the streets. I no longer work there so the thought of caring about not showing up slips into the abyss. Beau throws out some fantasy football trash talk and tells me Aaron is working the event on a forklift ahead.

Aaron is my best friend at USA Fence, which happens when you squire for the guy for 8 months while he diagnosing issues with electronically controlled gates. Aaron is the Dr. House of access control. The guy is a wizard. And now I see him crotchetily driving a forklift through drunk patrons of Ybor with his trademark E-Cig keeping him sane. I give him a quick high five because I know he does not want to be there and is only doing this to support his wife and two kids. It blows my mind someone who is a master of a trade has to work on a Saturday night doing something he clearly does not enjoy. And we are off again.

I give a brief explanation to Tom on what was likely a confusing 5 minute sequence of events. He was flanking me the whole time wielding his camera snapping away at the crowded Ybor scene. He didn’t need an elaborate explanation and I didn’t need to give one until I wrote the last 3 paragraphs.

We never did find out what that parade was for.

Crowbar Venue Review

Impossible to Ignore Preconceived Notions:

How could I be a music hipster in Tampa, Florida and have not been to the Crowbar? Time for that to change.

Location, Location, Location:

It’s in the belly of Ybor but it’s like the spleen. Who remembers where the spleen is when thinking about your own stomach? This is because Crowbar is off the strip and shrouded in mystery like the spleen.

If 7th street was a plate, Crowbar is the sesame seed top bun, a corporate fast casual restaurant under media duress is the over-cooked burger, and a hookah bar with a DJ playing latino club music is the lower bun directly on main street. I have been to Ybor probably 8 times and have never wandered into Crowbar.

I dig the mysterious location.

Staff:

  • The thickly bearded bouncer asked for our ID’s. I tried to make a joke and he just looked at me with dead eyes. This bouncer passed the test. Any friendly bouncer is exploitable.
  • On the contrary, Christian the bartender seemed to genuinely care about my well being. He took my order as his hand was on my shoulder so he could hear me better. I asked him what was on special and he didn’t even think twice and grabbed Tom and I both PBR’s.

Structural Strengths:

  1. Very well set up venue for a bar.
  2. The dance floor was spacious but still intimate for connecting spectators with the band
  3. The sound was loud and I could feel the vibrations from the riffs despite being around the middle of the dance floor.
  4. The outer patio was suitable and spacious for anyone who needed a break from the inner sanctum.

Structural Flaws:

  • The only thing I can think of is that I heard full conversations of the people 20 feet outside the bathroom while I was using aforementioned bathroom. I heard something about someone’s feet that I wish I didn’t hear.

Faces in the Crowd:

Crowd matters. There are certain crowds where it affects how I experience something. Crowds with predominantly flat billed/cowboy hats, flannel/affliction shirts, heavy cologne smells, girls crying, babies, and AARP members are crowds that I generally stay away from. This crowd was very positive and eclectic. Some highlights:

  • All of the Home Team people
  • Charles
    • He was extremely passionate about the music.
    • Entertained me during the intermission between Holey Miss Moley and Kung Fu.
    • He is a graduated Geology major with valuable work experience (I’m a Geology major).
    • Gave great insight and knowledge on just about everything.
    • He looks like the guy who would have been leading rituals for like tribal Druids in ancient Britannia.
  • All of the people dressed as martial artists
    • The tall dude with the afro, sunglasses, and kung fu attire was taking selfies all night with people. Except me but I admit I was really focused on delivering a good product.
    • The guy using a walker and kung fu outfit. That’s dedication.
    • Approximately 30 dudes in kung fu outfits
  • PK the MC
    • Great shirt
    • Great Afro
    • All around nice guy

What it feels like:

You are either going to watch a show or about to get bribed in some deal with big business water executives.

Number: 9.5 Harbaughs out of 10

Holey Miss Moley Performance Review

Impossible to Ignore Preconceived Notions:

The only knowledge going in was that it was jam music and Jacob the guitar player seemed like a pretty cool guy.

Who:

“We are Holey Miss Moley, we are from everywhere and Florida.”

That is certainly reflected in the diverse and eclectic composition of the 8 person band.

  1. Danny Clemons – Vocals
    1. I met Danny in the bathroom where he was in the mirror lambasting his afro. Called it a bad fro day. It was the complete opposite, the dude has amazing hair and I made sure to tell him that.
    2. Danny is super charismatic both on and off stage. He seemed like he was having more fun than anyone and it was infectious
  2. Jacob Cox – Guitar
    1. Met him at the door.
    2. Immaculate red sideburns.
    3. Immaculate long curly hair.
    4. Looks like he stepped out of a time machine from the 70’s.
  3. Christian Ryan – Brass Instruments
    1. Also looks like he stepped out of a time machine.
    2. Crazy mustache.
    3. Looks like Bud Cort
    4. More on him later.
  4. Vernon Suber – Percussion
    1. Talked to him during the changeover from their set to Kung Fu.
    2. Had a kind and wise aura about him. I tend to think both of those traits correlate somehow.
    3. Older dude who looked like he could have been performing in a smoky jazz lounge.
  5. Robyn Alleman – Vocals
    1. A recent addition to Holey Miss Moley
    2. Added a dynamic female presence in the band.
    3. Very stylish.
  6. Antonio Morales – Drums
    1. Dude was pounding those drums skillfully and enthusiastically.
    2. Looked like he could fit in with any heavy metal band.
  7. Kenneth Harvey – Bass
    1. Like Antonio could fit in with any heavy metal band.
    2. Maybe even a bluegrass band.
  8. Mikey Guzman – Keyboard
    1. Killed it on the keyboard.
    2. Another diverse member of the band.

When you added the presentation of all the different members by the band, an intoxicating display is achieved.

Listening/Dancing:

Holey Miss Moley created an intimate atmosphere that made it easy to get lost in the music. I was stage left about 40 feet from the main stage dancing with myself. The sound system was very effective, as the vibrations off of the stage were powering my dancing (No, I was not on drugs). Tom was up front dancing harder than any human being I have ever seen dance and he was doing it while taking pictures. Just another reminder why I appreciate him

The song list was both new and familiar. The unfamiliar Devil’s Funk kicked off the show strong. The familiar included a fun cover of Snoop Dog’s “One, Two, Three, to the Four.”

The lead singer Danny, with his rockin’ fro, had several awesome moments that added to the warm atmosphere. At one point he thanked two audience members for saving his life. At another, he jumped off stage and danced with Julia from Moon Goddess Entertainment. You can tell that Danny is both talented as an artist and probably a good guy to have as a friend.

Christian Ryan: woah. Dude is supremely talented. Easily one of the most talented musicians I have ever seen live. At one point he was playing a flute and a saxophone AT THE SAME TIME. At one point he was playing two saxophones AT THE SAME TIME. Not to mention while he was doing these amazing feats it seemed like he was making eye contact with me. Sometimes I looked away but other times I looked right into his eyes and saw the capabilities of human beings.

Christian Ryan’s performance reminded me of the dichotomy between Christian Ryan and my friend Aaron. Both are the best at their profession but something like music appeals more to the masses than electronic gates.

What it sounds like?

Human stir fry marinated with love.

Verdict

8.9 Harbaugh’s out of 10

Kung Fu Performance Review

Pictures of Any and all Kung Fu

Impossible to Ignore Preconceived Notions:

Absolutely zero prior knowledge.

Who:

Kung Fu is a New England based funk band. The band consists of Tim Palmieri, Adrian Tramontano, Chris Deangelis, Rob Somerville, and Beau Sasser. In the least stereotypical way, several of the band members were rocking their baseball teams on their hats. The mustachioed lead singer, Robert Somerville, sported a dreaded Boston Red Sox hat while keyboarder Beau Sasser rocked Toronto Blue Jays. As a Detroit Tigers fan, I’m offended.

The members of Kung Fu all look like your friends cool dad who once and awhile gets a little too drunk watching baseball.

Listening/Dancing:

I was transported into my own little world for 70% of this show. I danced in my same position (stage left, 40 feet back from stage) for what felt like hours during Kung Fu’s performance.

It’s funny for me the things you think about when your body moves to the beat and your mind in auto pilot. I found myself thinking what my face looked like as I swayed back and forth to the beat. I thought about how the key to enjoying a show is similar to enjoying a movie: suspension of disbelief. I thought about how listening to new music should not be something you imagine, it should be something that opens up new dreams and manifestations in your head. I then thought about how if I wrote any of this down I would be pretentious and here we are!

The covers of Thundercat’s “Oh She*t It’s X” and personal favorite Gary Numan’s “Cars” were awesome. The musicianship was top notch across the board. I especially remember the inspired instrumental solos from each member of the band. It was a wonderfully exhausting show.

At a certain point, the exhaustion took hold and I plopped down at the bar. Maybe it was because I worked 10 hours that day and had to wake up for work the next. Maybe it was just an overload of musical intake and I am soft. The show winded down around 1:15 and I was thankful for the experience and was at the same time ready to go home.

And then everyone shouted encore. And they shouted “Who’s got the funk?” And then they came back on stage. Tom had made a point that we would stay the whole time so I hoped it would be a quick set and out. They played and it started winding down. And then it segued into another set. And then that winded down…..into another set. I was sitting there about to pass out at the bar. I threatened to get my own Uber. The encore set was on minute 20. Minute 30. I’m seriously baffled on how the people still dancing were functioning. Minute 35 and I am grouchy. An argument between an older couple blocks my view of the stage and I couldn’t help but feel things were turning a bit sinister.

After around 50 minutes the encore set ended and I had to go outside. Tom had some networking to do but I spent all of my remaining energy. We found an Uber and I passed out. I realized I had only 2 beers the entire night. Did not need them.

What it sounds like:

Neverending spaceship flying on a rainbow over mid-life crisis.

Verdict

8.0 Harbaugh’s out of 10

Conclusion

Was my opinion changed on jam band music from the show at the Crowbar? Yes and no. It is still not something I am going to actively seek out when I put on headphones or to play on my radio show. Jam band music is about the incredibly passionate community that supports it. It’s about experiencing in through 5 senses in the flesh. I still cannot enjoy the 40 minute youtube clips of Phish performing one song or the Spotify studio version of moe. Realistically, how many live shows can you see when you work and study full time? With the advent of technology that supports music at your fingertips, I like my music easy. Jam band music doesn’t lend itself to that format. That being said, I would love to go to another show because the experience is definitely worth it.

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