“Mike Gordon. Your f*cking idol.”
More on that in a minute, but I like the Tarantino approach to tell this story of how heading to Harvard Square and using a live music discovery app to check out the newest venue in Cambridge led me to meeting one of my favorite musicians.
On Thursday I made a spontaneous plan to meet my brother and some friends in Harvard Square, taking full advantage of the beautiful weather that day. As we were enjoying some beverages, watching the Bruins (Jagr’s debut) vs. the Devils at Charlie’s outdoor beer garden, our conversation swayed to re-cap the interesting stories you accumulate going to a lot of shows.
This prompted me to bust out my smart phone to show the gang an app called Timbre. It finds your location and lists the bands playing in that area. You can listen to a quick preview of the band, see if its’ your scene and then buy tickets/share on social media. Very cool. So during my ‘Price is Right’ like demonstration, I heard the funky sounds of the Greyboy All-Stars. Hmm, last time I saw these guys was during an epic spring break trip at the Langerado Festival in ’07, and they’re here in H Sq. at The Sinclair, which I’ve been dying to check out? Sold. Everyone was also looking for a change of scenery, so we finished our outdoor beers, all too proud to admit that we’re freezing, and decided to rage out to some funk.
Making the short walk over to Church Street, it dawns on me that this particular square has been dying for a music venue. Club Passim is cool, but you need a spot to hear national touring acts rock more than small acoustic shows. Entering The Sinclair, I feel like we finally have that, as I immediately dug the vibe. Friendly staff checked IDs, which a lot of the older crowd was either annoyed or flattered or both, but this standard is less of an annoyance when the bouncer treats you like a guest. You walk past the kitchen, which looks nice, and pass through the main bar where the sleek warehouse offers a hip selection of beers and spirits. I’m immediately drawn to Sixpoint Bengali Tiger IPA. I dig cans, this one’s shinny, I’m in. Not a real long wait, as the bar is pretty large. I could hang out here even if it was just a bar, but random false cheers remind me that there’s a band about to go on, so in we go. The sleek warehouse feel continues in the actual venue, with a large sized stage and upper wrap around balcony and mini stadium style bleacher section. Almost like a shrunken House of Blues with less pushy security.
It’s not long before five figures emerge from behind the curtains and hit the stage to a warm reception and aesthetically pleasing aroma of the folks exercising the right to improve their back pain from newly passed laws on reefers.That’s when you know some shits going to go down and a party is underway. And did it ever.
Greyboy’s front man, saxophonist, flutist, percussionist, vocalist, keyboardist, and badassist – Karl Denson – leads these jams with intricate group synchronized hooks. They also rock a vintage sound, 70s soul funk, and any band with a B3 organ, and a beautiful hollow body Gibson to accomplish that is boosted up in my eyes. With a new album coming out on April 16th, we were treated with a lot of that new material but also an instrumental tease of MJ’s “The Way You Make Me Feel”.
Standing on the right side of the venue, the room was packed, but having a bar right next to us was a positive convenience. Also easy access to the upper level, and a quick journey downstairs for your brother to come grab you before the bass player from your favorite band leaves.
I shout out: “Gordo!”
Extend a hand with some jumbled together message: “huge-fan-picture?-can-you-take-thanks-for-everything.”
His response: “Thanks man.” Shakes my hand and heads down the stairs to the exit.
I’ll take it!
With my day/week/month made, the rest of the night was an adrenaline filled blur, coupled with some great music and a great venue experience. Thankful for making the impromptu decision to head this show and end up with a great story to tell, I think I’ll be making a few more trips to The Sinclair in the near future.