By Andy J. Gordon
Skerik brought his saxophone and fine new band to the The Mint in Los Angeles on Monday March 26, 2012. The band kept a large crowd of supportive fans entertained. The show was part of a 14-day West Coast release tour for their new debut album Live At The Royal Room which captured the band’s first ever public performance.
Skerik (born Eric Walton) is a Seattle born saxophone innovator. He is a founding member of Garage A Trois (www.garageatrois.net,) Critters Buggin (www.crittersbuggin.com) and Skerik’s Syncopated Taint Septet (www.syncopatedtaint.com.) He also is known for his collaborations with many artists in the jamband, funk and modern jazz scene. Bandalabra is a collaboration between Skerik and some of Seattle’s most respected players: Andy Coe on electric guitar, Evan Flory Barnes on upright bass and Dvonne Lewis on drums.
The Mint show covered a diverse range of styles – from straight ahead jazz that would have made Ornette Coleman and Miles Davis proud, to modern electronic funk rock, similar to the style employed with Garage A Trois. What really threw me for a loop was a late set sonic explosion. Skerik adjusted a couple of his distortion pedals so that his saxophone sounded like a screaming guitar on a tune that would have fit nicely at a Rage Against the Machine show. Throughout the set, Coe’s guitar work adapted expertly to each change of pace and he played some scorching solos that kept Skerik on his toes. Barnes and Lewis pounded out a solid rhythm and kept the audience bouncing to the beat. While generously allowing his band mates to shine, Skerik was definitely the center of attention. His versatility and saxophone expertise were the highlights of the show.
The Bandalabra concert at The Mint (http://www.themintla.com/) was another fine example of some alternative programming that has made the club the “go to” spot in Los Angeles for funk, modern jazz, jam bands and New Orleans music. Skerik has put together another winning combination and the appreciative crowd was among the first of many to enjoy the ride.
Photos courtesy of Andy J. Gordon.