October 14, 2010

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Lucid is a little like good lasagna
Plattsburgh band expanding its territory
By Michael Witthaus music@hippopress.com

The problem with any local music scene is the circuit’s only so big. Lucid, playing the Shaskeen on Friday, Oct. 15, has a large following in its home city of Plattsburgh, N.Y. The six-piece band’s music melds jazzy rock, blues and straight-up funk into a lively, dance floor-filling concoction. Between the college and townies, along with the many clubs that regularly book them in upstate New York, their schedule stays pretty full.

Since 2007, they’ve hosted the two-day Backwoods Pondfest, inviting jam band stalwarts like Spiritual Rez, Hot Day at the Zoo and Roots of Creation to party and play at a campground in the tiny hamlet of Peru, located a few miles from the western shores of Lake Champlain. But with the release of their second album, Dewdmanwah, in summer 2009, the group decided it was time to conquer the rest of the world, or at least a few more states.

“2010 was our year to break into the festival scene, and that went pretty successfully. It also helped us expand our territory,” said the band’s keyboard player, Andy Deller, recently by telephone. Over the summer, Lucid appeared at gatherings in Vermont and Maine and stepped up their club bookings, making the first of four visits to New Hampshire earlier this spring.

The band travels in a retro school bus named Lucy that looks like a mash-up of the wheels from Partridge Family and Ken Kesey’s Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test. Though they’ve released only a pair of albums, the band has a catalog of more than 90 songs, most written by singer and guitarist Kevin Sabourin. On Saturday they’ll appear again in another Manchester — in Vermont, a town that’s the diametric opposite of Manch Vegas. Not a problem, Deller said.

“We can handle different venues,” Deller said. “When we get into a place we can hand pick. We’re able to read the crowd and the area. We can play family-friendly afternoon benefits, the big festivals or an acoustic show at a soup restaurant. We’ve never said no to a gig, and now we have experience playing all kinds of places. We love playing and entertaining people.”

They’re just as flexible musically. “We do have a jam band ethos, but we also have a really strong songwriting element. We’ll have a number of songs where we don’t break out into any jams at all,” said Deller. “They’re pretty set structures, there’s a start and a finish and a quick message — and it’s always danceable. So that, of course, influences us, with Phish being from this area; you can’t help but let yourself get into that aspect. And we are perfectly happy to have people come up onstage and have them do something improvisational, not planned out … we’re comfortable with that. But we do also have some established almost poppy tunes. That’s part of our eclectic nature.”

The band began as a trio and has been a six-piece for the past seven years. If anecdotal evidence can be believed, Deller began playing at age 3, hearing songs on the radio and toddling over to the family piano to try and work out the notes. “So that means I’ve been playing for 39 years,” he said, laughing.

With studio time so expensive, the band’s been working on alternative ways to get their music out.

“We have the next three studio albums charted out if we go back to the studio,” said Deller. “But we have equipment now that makes it easier to record live, and hopefully get a lot of these new songs done. We have a lot of new go-to material that will get people out of their seats.” Deller co-wrote a pair of songs with Sabourin called “Cursed” and “Come a Day.”

Another song written in the summer is called “Came and Went.” It has, Deller said, “kind of this driving Zeppelin feel to it, it’s a boot-stomper.” A track from their first album called “Style of the Smooth” goes in a different direction — it’s a funked up masterpiece, with hip-hop flavor and first-rate rapping. “That was a co-write with Kevin and a buddy who will go nameless,” said Deller. “We call him Gabe. Not for anything bad — it’s his own request for anonymity. He did the rhymes.”

Asked to describe a Lucid show to the uninitiated, Deller said, “We just want people to go away thinking, ‘That was a good time!’ And maybe for the next week or two they can’t get that one song out of their heads. But it’s a good thing, like burping for four hours after a meal, and saying, ‘Oh yeah, that lasagna was good!’”


Lucid
When: Friday, Oct. 15, at 9 p.m.
Where: Shaskeen, 909 Elm St., Manchester, 625-0246
Info: www.shaskeen.com