Raleigh, NC’s Pour House Music Hall hosted the first of many Tuesday night jam sessions this past week, and if the event was any indication, there’s going to be plenty of great music made during The Oatmeal Conspiracy‘s ongoing “first Tuesday” residency.
The evening was billed as The Oatmeal Conspiracy and Triple Wide, just like the show I attended back in April. Like that show, there was plenty of collaboration and personnel changing throughout the night. However, the music at this most recent concert was almost entirely different from the previous one, and even more musicians got in on the act.
The community of friends and musicians included the announced bands along with friends and collaborators like bassist Martin Jarrard, guitarist Dave Ivey and vocalist Jessica Stewart. Those three, along with Triple Wide drummer David Daniels and guitarist Steven Stewart, once comprised the Chapel Hill jam-rock quintet Southern Groove Society, so there was a familial vibe in the room from the start.
Triple Wide’s early set was the start of a nonstop evening of experimentation, and the show began with both bands on stage for a warmup funk jam that eventually gave way to the original “Meshell Funk.” The expected Southern Groove Society reunion followed, and the band had a blast working their way through their own “Done Me Wrong,” which sounded pretty much like a song should sound after 8 years on the shelf. Still, it was fun to see the band share a moment and gather around for a run through an old staple.
Triple Wide bassist Dale Bryce returned for a three-song showcase of the band’s original material, and the guests kept coming in waves. Ivey, vocalists Stewart and Whitney Pearsall, Oatmeal Conspiracy saxophonist Mitch Morton, and local guitarist Will Robl all contributed to a progression of songs that included the tricky “Slick Willie” and a hip-shaking cover of “Tell Me Something Good” before climaxing with a joyous “Turn On Your Lovelight.”
A brief break preceded The Oatmeal Conspiracy’s set, after which the band offered up their pleasantly quirky fusion of jazz, funk, electro, and pop. Morton and Keyboardist Chad Johnson have a grip of great songwriting ideas, and the band’s unique keyboard/sax/drums/vocals configuration offers plenty of possibilities. Two older tunes (“Stephen” and “Plaidipuss”) followed two newer tunes (“Bumblebee” and “Everywhere I Go”) before Steven Stewart and Bryce joined in for “Shady Shack” and “All Systems Go.”
Also part of the ever-changing lineup were guitarist David Titchner and bassist Matt Levine of the enduring Raleigh band Waylandsphere. They made their way to the stage for the expansive jam vehicle “The Great Equalizer” and another instrumental titled “Family and Friends.” For a nightcap, everyone gathered onstage for a whimsical version of “Quinn the Eskimo.”
The overall flow of musicians on and off of the stage, the wide variety of music, and the technical skill demonstrated both instrumentally and vocally suggested a level of talent that is scarcely found at a free concert. These monthly musical melting pots will continue, and it can’t be long before Raleigh’s wiser music fans take notice of the lively, burgeoning scene that is being established.
–Click here for an unedited photo gallery from the show.
Video of the opening jam segment: