It's a Thursday night at the Mel, and saxophone ace Ian Martin is leading The Bread & Butter Crew with his oddly pleasing squawks and awkwardly suave charisma. He shares the front of the stage with Matt Riegel, a masterful guitarist whose solos are startlingly reminiscent of 70’s classic rock prodigies. Joel Auxier gives Bread & Butter funk credibility on the bass, moving little while maintaining a Mona Lisa smile. Rhythm is handled by Kerry Gant, on drum set #1, and Justin Lahr, doing double duty on drum set #2 and the keys.
“We don’t have a singer ‘cause we don’t like playing with them,” Martin proclaimed midway through last night's set. Until he mentioned it, I had barely realized the lack of vocals. I had noticed the two drum sets being played at the same time- something I don’t recall seeing often, if ever. The dual percussion never muddied the water or muffled the instrumentals, but rather offered opportunities for special accentuation and rhythm play.
The Bread & Butter Crew is full of energy- from Martin’s peculiar robot-style kicks to Gant’s fancy wrist work with his sticks to Lahr’s raucous bottom-bouncing that nearly caused his mirrored aviator glasses to fly off his face. Their sound ranged from reggae rock to funk, occasionally topped with a small hint of Latin inspiration.
Through the second half of their set, the room began to fill with faithful Midwest Hype fans who had come just to see the La Porte band close the night. Martin urged the crowd to utilize the empty space in front of the stage but, alas, the floor remained empty. Nonetheless, the audience was completely captivated as all eyes (and ears) locked in on the band for their final song.
The newly formed Bread & Butter Crew is sure to be an excellent addition to the local jam community; I predict they will be gigging around the city frequently in a short amount of time.
Check out their music here (start with Bob O.) and catch them live On September 25th at The Monkey’s Tail.