Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Devyl Nellies - Groove on Grove

I was all ready to come up with some clever sentence about one of the GROOviest of the Groove on Grove bands played the Final Groove on Grove when I found out that it’s next week that’s the grand finale, which will feature the great local band, Any Day Parade, who opened this year’s series.

For the Next-to-Final Groove on Grove, the Devyl Nellies played and in terms of laying down a groove, they just might take the Grove Street cake. I have to say, an exceptional bunch of cats. They have the touch of a Jam Band about them, in fact, I would describe them as a concise Jam Band. The Jams did not sprawl or wallow. They were purposeful without undermining the improvisational attitude. They sustained an infectious groove in nearly every song; I found my hands involuntarily clapping along. I had to suppress an urge to stand up and shimmy in time. Some bluesy soul inflected numbers opened the set which went on to include a straight out country rock song and a straight out reggae song, both pretty awesome. The female singer would strap on a guitar sometimes; what looked like the band leader played acoustic rhythm guitar, even strapping on the harmonica holder for some multi-music-tasking. They even played an instrumental bluegrass type ditty, where the aforementioned played the mandolin—during one instrumental break he plucked out a quote of The Flintstones theme song—witty, clever and revealing a refreshing musical adeptness. I couldn’t quite make out the lyrics, but otherwise, this band had all cylinders firing, with some particularly excellent lead guitar, a kind of wah wah noodling, accentuated by deliberate statements. Just damn entertaining and impressive playing & material.

The first day of autumn still felt like summer and I guess summer gets another week with the Final Groove on Grove. I chatted briefly with Anthony Susco (who has this blog featuring upcoming Jersey City events), curator of the series. He deserves congratulations. The sophomore year of this free summer music series I found fantastic. I don’t post on it every week, because that would be boring, but I usually stay for a while at least. It’s a tough gig for the musician; most folks are passing through, heading from or to NYC, waiting for a bus to the Heights. If they are hanging out, more often than not it’s for a reason other than the music. Yet, the music is consistently good. It’s a great way to sample the currency among our area’s young, unsigned musicians. My one complaint is that there should be more seating and more seating closer to the stage and maybe, a beverage vendor. But Groove on Grove is one of the things about J.C. that works as planned. The setting is perfect for enjoying the summer, the music is always entertaining. It’s just so damn pleasant. And, as with the Devyl Nellies, sometimes there are flashes of brilliance to behold.

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