Originally published in Through the Lens Magazine on April 8, 2016
Article and photos by Melodie Yvonne Ramey
LAFAYETTE, IN – The amazing thing about Lafayette, Indiana is that it has somehow side stepped a lot of the small town stigma that sometimes comes with places in Hoosier country. Everything from the thriving businesses to the epic night life has began to put them on the map, and has made them a recent hub for a plethora of visitors from all over. The Lafayette Theater has definitely helped feed this flourishing community with its constant stream of extraordinary musicians from near and far. Most recently the theater garnered a visit from three bands from three different towns that came together just to give Lafayette a little triple treat. The bands that dished it out for the night were 800 lb. Gorilla, Mungion, and SpaceWords.
800 lb. Gorilla is a college rock jam band based in Bloomington, Indiana. They have a rock and roll core that works with funk and jazz influences to create danceable grooves. They are a five-piece band made up of Dan Humphrey on lead vocals, Kwame Newton on sax & keyboards, Mark Humphrey on guitar & vocals, Byron Boler on drums, and Joe Schweitzer on bass. Their original music blends Beatle-esque songcraft with funky, jazzy improvisation. They played a mixture of older and newer songs including a brand new song they had only recently played live titled “Millions of People”. Humphrey’s soulful voice has a funk blues vibe that pulled the crowd right into the song, and had them writhing right along with him. 800 lb. Gorilla’s opening set was a veritable funk playground that had the audience ready for another round.
Mungion hailed all the way from Chicago to grace the stage next with their very own musical circus. This jam rock & dance band is made up of Justin Reckamp on guitar & vocals, Joe Re on keys & vocals, Sean Carolan on bass & vocals, and David Collum on drums & vocals. The band has a reputation for having a dedicated work-ethic and demanding rehearsal habits which is definitely deemed true with their refined sound. Mungion carries a funky jam band vibe. The heavy bass plunks flying off the stage carried the same freedom found in the one and only Les Claypool, and gave Mungion the extra sweet yet volatile sound. Their dedicated devotees followed them from Chicago to lap up every note and feast on their frenzied melodies. By the end of Mungion’s set the audience was riled up into a funkilicious free-for-all, and hankering for more.
SpaceWords came on to close out the night. The band is composed of Kevin Hull on guitar & vocals, William John Pinnick on guitar & vocals, Aaron Ade on guitar, Kelly Greene on bass, and Jeff Lageveen on drums. Their set starts, and soon the familiar notes that signal “Bury” begin. Within moments Kevin’s voice comes crawling out of his mouth from the depths of his soul. The simple and soothing way he croons the words, “Just breathe in deep, you’re gonna go to sleep,” urges the listener to do what he says. His intoxicating vocals might even persuade them to go so far as to hold that chloroform laced hanky over their air passages themselves just so he doesn’t have to take a pause from blessing them with his voice for even a second. The band continued with a golden setlist of even more spectacular originals like “Can’t Complain” and “Kevin’s Discussion” bringing so much pleasure to the fans that every single person in the theater had now migrated to the dance floor in front of the stage. The crowd gazed in awe at the band taking in every part of them including Aaron’s steadfast skills laced with his air of mystery. He continually bends his instruments to his will, and creates the backbone of the space sounds. Every note he plays sails seamlessly out of his guitar, and abducts the listener’s ears leaving them helpless except to yearn for more of his celestial symphonies. On the opposite side of the stage the only thing that was rocking as hard as Kelly’s thick mustache might be his thicker bass lines. He fully thrusts himself into his instrument until he and his bass are fused into one creating a unique technique that aligns him with the greats. Midway through the performance his face is covered with a highly contagious blissfulness that infects the entire crowd.
SpaceWords set for the evening included a multitude of originals, of course, as well as an encore performance dripping with Queens of the Stone Age goodness. They took a shot at “No One Knows” and “Songs for the Dead“, and they hit the target dead center. William John Pinnick’s vocals immediately surpass that of any others who have tried, and rises to the challenges set by Josh Homme. Pinnick’s voice is a tempestuous temptress ravishing the congregation until they are all ready to meet his demands. Jeff Lageveen had his back, and drives it like he stole it as he sets the pace with his unprecedented drumming. His persona and techniques behind the kit are a culmination of Animal from the Muppets and Dave Grohl competeing against each other and then melding into one person to exist in simultaneous badassery. Jeff’s beats wrap around the listeners’ hearts, and meld to their pulses until every single blood cell is coursing along with the music. Every heartbeat in the audience increased in unison with the quickening tempo until suddenly it dropped, and for just a moment a silent death was upon the house. Then, just as quickly, the drumstick hit the nail on the heart, and with an awe filled gasp the room is brought back to life. Soon the song and the show reached its end, and SpaceWords had to take their leave of the stage turning their backs on yet another awe-stricken crowd.
The show was over way to soon for the eager music lovers in the theater, but once again it was another extraordinarily successful night. Time and again the Lafayette Theater takes care of its town, and this night was no different. It’s hard to imagine so much musical magnificent all in one town, but hopefully this triple treat will come back again one day, and visit all the new fans they’ve made in beautiful little Lafayette, Indiana.
View the full photo gallery from the night at www.photographicmelodie.com/mungion.html
View all of Melodie’s work at melodieyvonne.com/category/melodie-yvonne