February 15, 2011

Rustic Overtones Whiff at Castaways

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Kevin Ramos wonders if the Rustic Overtones could have delivered a stronger performance at Castaways.

The Rustic Overtones, a funk-rock, pseudo-ska band based out of Portland, Maine provided an odd, yet mildly entertaining spectacle last Saturday at Castaways. The opening act, The Folkadelics, a folky funk-rock group that hails from our Ithaca, New York started off the night on a more fun, entertaining note. They were definitely psyched to be playing in their hometown, which really helped energize the rather lacking crowd at the beginning of the night. Especially notable was the female vocalist, Danny Faraone, a new addition to the group who provided a burst of soul that managed to draw in the audience and really get them dancing to songs like “Bad Idea.”  That, along with a sick harmonica/beat box solo from the guitarist, Sam Miller, which I had never heard of before then. Overall, the Folkadelics started off the night right and finished off with a well-deserved encore. They’ll be playing at Grassroots Festival this summer in Ithaca and I suggest checking them out if you’re in town.The Overtones then took over and kicked off their performance more upbeat songs and eventually transitioned into their more ska-like material. However, the audience didn’t respond too well to the shift in genre. Halfway through their set list, the crowd started to dissipate, leaving in its wake a few drunken dancers and the rest of the audience swaying and nodding their heads awkwardly. This likely had to do with the fact that there was merely too much going on onstage. The combination of flute/sax with electric guitar and heavy vocals was not doing it for me, or most of the audience for that matter. The lead vocalist, Dave Gutter, was solid throughout although his tone started to change after a few drinks, culminating in a mild argument with a disgruntled audience member after his plea for an encore was rejected. That being said, I did enjoy his enthusiastic performance and awkward, yet slightly humorous sexual references between songs. Surprisingly, the Overtones did not play their most popular song, “Letter to the President,” which was disappointing since it was one of my favorite tracks off their album Light At The End. Their better performances included “Rock Like War” and one of their new songs, “Let’s Join a Cult” but by the end of the show I was left with a different and disinterested impression of the band than I had going into the concert.

Original Author: Kevin Ramos