So, what’s the difference between Bruce Korona’s open mic on Thursday and his band-gig the next night? Location!
Well, that and the number of guests maybe- like, almost more here than at the jam-formatted, sign-up sheet event…
And maybe he’s up on his feet more here at a performance-gig (although he has only lately regained that ability, after recent knee-replacement surgery). Otherwise, -oh, and with a different rhythm section too, as this is a reunion of sorts for a band called Kontrolled Kaos, with front-man Kevin Crane- which marks familiar turf for PACC-goers, as KC shows up and stays up for the latter portion of the Thursday night open mic… so, otherwise we’re in similar territory here. It’s a summit of sorts between a couple of longtime greats in the local rock scene, veterans of the Axe Wars as it were, with each complimenting or offsetting the other’s strengths and preferences with just the right balance that the two of ’em end up enjoying the show while providing ample opportunity for a few friends and a few dozen audients as well, to do the same- which they do, if the hoots and cheers are taken as indicators.
It’s kinda like a variety show here at Gibson’s, except that all the skits are musical- too, they are frequently not without the component of comedy, and a dose of drama comes with the deal as well; or drama in the form of showmanship and good-natured acting-up. Even between sets, f’rinstance, friends and neighbors -and their talented off-springs too- will keep the music alive, sparing us all the need for any of that oft-dreaded ‘house music.’ And with Mr.Crane in the house, there’s never a lack of willing accompaniment- even if not just by way of presence and company and acoustic guitar, then also all can rest assured that a capable vocalist is ever at the ready. The guy sings with the kinda pipes that morph, at least adequately and many might say expertly, so as to wrap them vocal chords around pretty much any song that pops up in pretty much anyone’s mind or fancy. In other words, the voice is versatile and the repertoire is encyclopedic- amazingly, even mind-bogglingly so on both counts.
And isn’t that just as much the case, in the case of BJ’s guitar-playing? He might have a preference for hard rock and a tendency to play for two (or three), but he leaves room and plays well with others, too. And, once you’ve seen him around enough, in enough different situations, it doesn’t take long to take note of his versatility, too. The two of ’em together, they can cross-over and span genres, and then when the hour grows late and wits dim in most cases, these guys get sharper- tighter, maybe, even as they loosen up. The medleys that march out of their memories in those last sets… hmm, did we already say ‘mind-boggling’ and fun? Umm-hmm… and if they don’t quite remember all the lyrics to all the songs all the time, no matter- they have hand-held ‘lectronical devices to remind ’em what the words wuz s’ posed to be. The music is managed by muscle-memory, it seems, and the catalog is embedded in the cortex at varying depths or states of immediate accessibility, so all that’s needed from the ‘tab or the ‘pad or whatever, is a bit of quick-reference. Or so it seems.
Only thing remaining to fill the mixed bag, or complete the package, is a rhythm section capable of keeping up. John Philbin, or ‘JP, bass-man for various of these guys’ many bands over the years (but never together), now with much less hair than back in the day, well… he knows the material, he knows the players, he knows the vibe and the level and the need- no doubt, no question, no sweat! And the gent stationed at the drum kit, Tim Curtin, seems to be the Steve Savaria of the rock scene in Rocky Hill. Having hailed from previous involvements with both the singer and the bassist, he’s the natural and well-oiled (not to mention, hard-hitting) component to complete the composite that is Kontrolled Kaos. It’s all loud, skilled, energetic, and a whole lotta fun.
note: I’d-a took more pics, but weren’t planning to need more than the three I use for a regular Facebook post… oops!
Jimm O’D ~ The Dusty Turntable