By Bruce Elliot
Extra! Extra! Three time-traveling, superhuman musical prodigies have landed in our fair state with a two-pronged mission: to spread music of self-empowerment and forge a new era of sonic exploration. They call themselves Insigniya, and they’re here to enlighten us with what they label funk fusion livetronica, but you’ll just call mind-blowing ecstasy.
The members of Insigniya have, thus far, managed to pass themselves off as mere Massachusetts mortals. They are: Dan Searl ~ guitar, guitar synthesizer, Jake Fletcher ~ bass, synthesizers, and Josh Weinberg ~ drums, samples/sequencing. One day while Dan and Josh were hanging with mutual friends in the fall of 2009, Dan called out, “Does anyone here play an instrument?” Josh answered, the two started jamming, and they completed the sonic picture some months later when Jake arrived on bass.
With influences from Miles Davis to Coltrane, Wayne Krantz Trio, Herbie Hancock, Jimi Hendrix Experience, Lotus, and Cream, Insigniya began spreading its own brand of astonishing progressive-fusion to the masses. And their grooves are funkier than the men’s room at Fenway on free burrito night during extra innings. Yeah man, that’s funky, and the festival circuit is eating them up
“Josh went to a few festivals, had an awesome time at all of them…and most importantly experienced a scene where Insigniya’s music could thrive and flourish… From this, we reached out to festivals we wanted to play, which has led to the band being on the bill for 11 festivals around the northeast in the 2011 season.” Attend one, and you’ll experience “a party, a great time, a transcendental experience, good people, joy, ever-improving light shows, dancing, and raging,” explains Josh.
With an upcoming east coast tour, live DVD, and plans to release a studio album in December, Insignia’s musical mission will soon be accomplished. For more, including tour and festival dates, visit www.insigniya.com or like them at www.facebook.com/insigniya.music.
Hit the Bus
By Jennifer Russo
They say that sometimes an idea just hits you out of nowhere…well, the opposite happened to David Garden when he accidentally hit a bus on his way to work one day. Don’t worry, no one got hurt (except maybe his car), but a band name was born for a couple of guys who can pretty much play it all and sing it all. This duo plays all the local bars, weddings, private parties and charitable events and has a song list that includes everything from Neil Diamond to Oasis to Johnny Cash. According to David, their songs include everything from 50s classics to current chart toppers. “The two of us don’t take ourselves too seriously. We have an eclectic mix of songs that a wide range of people can enjoy.”
I asked David why two young guys would want to bust out the oldies and what makes them want to do covers in general. “Covering songs is easier because the hits have already been written for us…songs are timeless. If it’s got a good hook it shouldn’t matter when it was written.” His favorite songs to play include “Run Around Sue” by Dion & the Belmonts ~ “For some reason it always gets people singin’ and dancin’!” ~ “The Time Warp” from the Rocky Horror Picture Show because it shows off their vocal range and “Charlie on the MTA” ~ “A true classic – it might be the oldest song we play, but everyone knows the words and there is a lot of table thumping going on.”
These light-hearted guys just want to have a good time and show their audience the same. Last year for Halloween they dressed up as the Blues Brothers while rocking out a show in Grafton.
Playing together since 2009, David and his band-mate Eric Yanaway boast beautifully harmonized vocals and the ability between them to play acoustic and electric guitar, harmonica, various percussion instruments and even ukulele! They sometimes hire a drummer for larger events to heighten the energy level (if that’s possible!) even more.
Old or young, if you want a great night out listening to your favorite songs and soaking up a ton of energy from the audience and band alike, get to one of these guys’ shows ~ but please don’t hit a bus in the excitement of trying to get there.
Check out Hit the Bus when they play the Westender in Marlboro on Nov. 23rd and “Like” them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/hit-the-bus. Need some great wedding entertainment? Shoot them an e-mail at:
Eye Witness’s A Pleasant Tomorrow
By Bruce Elliot
Eye Witness, a politically charged, socially conscious folk duo from West Boylston, has something to say ~ and the voice to say it. Their latest CD, A Pleasant Tomorrow, an ironic title considering the weighty material, runs as cold, dark, and deep as the Atlantic, but their message is delivered with such passion and conviction that it cannot be ignored.
Principal songwriter, lead vocalist, and guitarist Milo proposed to multi-instrumentalist wife Rainy during a gig at Ralph’s in Worcester back in 2008. Together they have created one of the quirkiest, most charming and original musical acts to come out of the Worcester area in many years. Eye Witness is Dylan meets The Velvet Underground, but with a healthy mix of blues and the Irish punk attitude of The Dropkick Murphys.
The CD opens strongly with “Which Side Are You On,” a classic union song written by Florence Reese, the wife of a union organizer in 1931. Milo’s haunting voice and guitar blend well with Rainy’s percussion and backing vocals. Their minimalist approach lends a timeless quality to each song. “No More” and “You Can Run” point out the futility of war and the hypocrisy of nationalism and militaristic pride. Many songs have the weight of death hanging upon them. “Black Crow Blues” is a first person love letter from a dying man to his young bride. “The Alpha Male is Dead” questions leaders controlled by greed and profit at the expense of our planet and its people.
For more on Eye Witness, including the dates of upcoming shows and where you can get your own copy of
A Pleasant Tomorrow, visit www.eyewitnessrocks.com.