I like to consider myself to be a concert connoisseur; a music aficionado if you will. But let’s face it, a live music junkie would be much more appropriate. I go to multiple shows a week, I plan my work schedule around the next show, I’ve been to dozens of festivals, seen hundreds of different bands, and been to thousands of concerts. I live to jam and jam to live. It’s safe to say that when it comes to live music, I know what I’m talking about. I’ve said it once and I’m here to say it again: if you don’t listen to The Main Squeeze, you aren’t doing it right.
The Main Squeeze originated in Bloomington, Indiana. Their initial success started on Indiana University’s campus, but has grown much larger than that since then. The band consists of five members, all of whom are extremely talented at what they do. Corey Frye is the band’s lead singer, Max Newman is on the guitar, Jeremiah Hunt is on the bass, Reuben Gingrich is on the drums, and Ben “Smiley” Silverstein is on the keys. Together, they are The Main Squeeze, a funked out jazzy jam band that crosses all genres. With such seemingly effortless flow and understanding of each other, it’s hard to believe they’ve only been playing together for five years .
Out of all the musical genres that speak to me the most, the jam band scene is the one that has grabbed me. I’m a sucker for the creative aspect, the spontaneity. The one thing most bands in this field lack is vocal skill. At best, an average jam band can somewhat hold a tune. Corey Frye is a completely different story. The man’s voice is nothing short of beautiful. His vocal range is tremendous and he has quite the stage presence. Adding this element to a band that jams allows the funk to feel more authentic. The rest of the band is just as talented at what they do: Newman is a guitar guru and he absolutely shreds; Hunt lays down the funky bass and even solos sometimes; Gingrich is a machine, locking in tight beats throughout; and Smiley isn’t just some background piano player, his ability on the keys is highlighted and allows for a dueling rage fest between him and Newman.
Thursday night, The Main Squeeze made their way to Brooklyn to throw down at The Brooklyn Bowl. They took no time getting going and never let down speed. They dropped their major hit “Dr Funk” as the second song of the night and everyone was getting down. Two hours later, they were still going. I couldn’t believe that they didn’t take a set break, they just jammed on through. The band’s catalog of original music isn’t all that large as of now, so we also got some great covers including “Pretty Young Thing” by Michael Jackson and an encore of “Living For The City” by Stevie Wonder. The highlight of the night, in my opinion at least, was the Grateful Dead cover of “Shakedown Street” featuring James Casey of the Trey Anastasio Band on the saxophone, segueing into my favorite Squeeze song “I’ll Take Another”. “I’ll Take Another” is one of those songs that makes your entire face wince up as if to silently scream, “Hot damn, this is nasty!” The fans held their arms in the air with one finger up and raged out to the ten plus minute tune. The solo reminds of Zappa’s “Peaches En Regalia” or Edward Winter Group’s “Frankenstein”. Smiley grabbed his keytar and came to the front of the stage and faced Newman as the two tore down the house. It was a great night and I was sad it ever had to end.
The Main Squeeze gets better every time I see them. Their raw talent individually blends seamlessly to create musical beauty. If you get the chance to see them, do not, I repeat do not pass it up. I’m beyond ecstatic to see them again on June 11th in New York City at the Highline Ballroom for a benefit concert for American war veterans. Do yourself a favor and get squozen.