JJ and the Fabulous Gentiles arrive in style
Last Saturday night at Helmreich House, two bands played as part of the evening's entertainment: one band, The Unmentionables, previously seen performing at pub night a few weeks ago, and a new, very promising student band, JJ and the Fabulous Gentiles. The latter is comprised of Jake Brill '04 on guitar and vocals, Michael LoBiondo '06 on keys and trombone, Sam Terry '04 on drums, Jim Mecone '04 on bass and Jonah Gabry '07 on lead guitar. The three seniors were in a band together their sophomore year called Darker Than Blue. After a year of studying away and a short break, they reassembled in the spring of last year. This fall, Gabry, a freshman, joined them. This group had been playing together for over a month before their groundbreaking debut last Saturday night.
The performance was fantastic with high energy and an eclectic mix of styles and songs. The set list included two Phish songs, "Dirt" and "Cavern" a funky James Brown tune, "Pass the Peas" and the Jay-Z rap, "Give It To Me." But the songs that really put the crowd into a frenzy of wild dancing and singing were the Roots' "Next Movement," and Lynryd Skynyrd's legendary live performance piece, "Free Bird," with full solo from guitarist Gabry. The band was only able to play for a one-hour time slot, but hopes in the future to pull off a whole two-hour set of nonstop entertaining music. By the end, people whipped out their cigarette lighters and were standing so close to the band that the fire alarms might have been set off by this electrified "hot music."
In response to the concert, singer/rhythm guitarist Jake Brill said, "I was so pumped to see the crowd we had, especially since there was a ton of stuff to do on campus that night. I think it went well-people were moving and seemed to have a good time, and that's what it's all about."
The group wanted to thank Helmreich House for hosting them, the Unmentionables for playing a great set with them and for letting them use their equipment, and all of their dedicated fans who ignored the Yankees game on television.
The band explored funk grooves, rap and hip hop rhythms and rock riffs that carried the crowd with it into many different genres of music. What makes this band refreshing is their m‚lange of different music backgrounds and styles that everyone in the crowd is able to associate and connect with. Key moments included Brill's engaging shouts out to the audience and the inclusion of LoBiondo's trombone in the Brown piece. The band promises to present some original material in the future as well as continue to cover a range of songs during their performances. They have high goals for the future and plan on improving their sound and cohesiveness as a band.
JJ and the Fabulous Gentiles will join well-known campus bands like the Jim Weeks Philharmonic, Makeout, and half a dozen other bands starting up, as a source of great musical talent and entertainment on campus. Those interested in the band and the impressive, distinctive flavor that they bring to the rock group atmosphere on campus can check them out on December 5 in the pub. Needless to say, it will be worth the wait.