This review is dedicated to the memory of MacKenzie “believeinSoulshine” Worthley. Her soulshine will live on in the hearts of everyone she touched.
Last Thursday, 1904 Music Hall hosted a homecoming of sorts. Perpetual Groove came to town and it was obvious from the crowd outpouring that their return was highly anticipated and welcomed. Hailing from Athens, P-Groove’s sound is described many different ways, depending on who you ask. A jam band with arena rock anthems, trance-inducing shamanistic drones, and a flare for creating cover tune renditions which seem unlikely on paper, yet amazingly unique in performance. Their sound, as well as the band, has seen its fair share of transitions over the years, so much of the anticipation for this show was to see what old and new material would make the set list.
Local quartet The Anton Laplume Band opened up the evening. These guys are emerging as one of the premiere regional acts, and rightly so. Their jazz/rock/funk hybrid sound was an excellent fit for the evening and their ever-growing fan base showed support early and often. Anton’s virtuosity on the guitar and soulful vocals are a large part of the band’s popularity. Equally, Sean, Billy, and Aaron on bass, keys, and drums are strong and talented counterparts. Billy’s keys skills especially shined on the Sledgehammer cover towards the end of their set. We recently caught up with band – you can read our in-depth interview here.
Thursday was also a bittersweet celebration of the precious nature of life, as many in attendance were honoring the spirit and memory of MacKenzie “believeinSoulshine” Worthley. Throughout the night, friends stopped to talk and reminisce the beautiful life which made a lasting impression on so many. Accordingly, Anton and band asked for a moment of silence towards the end of their set, and 1904 paused, before smashing the aforementioned Peter Gabriel crowd favorite.
During the break inside, The Flying Sorcerers fired up in the newly-covered back patio. Clad in all white, the sorcerers whipped up a mixture of proto-pop surf punk with a side of Zeppelin braggadocio. They were a highly entertaining transition from Laplume to P-Groove and really strove to connect and interact with the crowd during the show. The patio was packed and Jacksonville’s live music crowd showed their appreciation for the 4-piece all the way from New Zealand.
Having caught Perpetual Groove fairly recently during Suwannee Hulaween, I was somewhat privy to the current tour material. But, as the feature of the night, coupled with the semi-intimate nature of 1904, the band was set to display their ability to hook an audience and explore the ebb and flow between band and attentive crowd. You could tell there were some eager P-Groove fans in attendance as the inside space began to fill up far before the band hit the stage. When they did, they were awash in colored backlighting and the initials P G lit up in white bulbs. Soon, the crowd was equally awash in the signature lush sounds of P-G. Through two sets, the band flowed through songs, some parts and pieces and other complete compositions. Songs like “Cairo,” “Shed Light,” and “Speed Queen,” had the smiles and sighs coming in droves.
The band has been touring in support of their latest album, Welcome to the Neighborhood, as well as announcing a return to form from self-imposed hiatus from a few years back. P-Groove ended with an encore of “The Golden Path,” a cover of UK electronic veterans The Chemical Brothers. It was an apt ending as the song explores the theme of where we have been, the path we are currently on, and where we’re headed.
Matthew Connor Dworschak also held down dj duties for the remainder of the night on the patio and managed to air the FestiSounds podcast, as well. The brainchild of Dworschak and Patrick Wilkins, the podcast focuses on upcoming music fests and music culture in the Southeast and beyond, with this episode dedicated to the upcoming Hometeam NYE Rally.
Passion Project was responsible for this fabulous evening, as well as quite a few memorable shows in recent months. Along with 1904 Music Hall the rest of The Elbow businesses, and other forward-thinking promoters and venues, Jacksonville is regularly seeing top-notch talent grace our stages. Keep up the great work, ladies and gentlemen. And for this music community, another reminder of the power of friends and family and the love that continues to grow and be absorbed.