Greg Allen's Fringe Religion
October 24, 2015
We will lose a lot when Johnny D's heads to the big club in the sky. Their excellent sound and board management is high on the list. Greg Allen's Fringe Religion is a great example of a band that benefits from that well-defined sound. The smart, melodic bass of Chicago Vin Earnshaw and focused drums of Chris Michaels lay down the basic tenets. Allen and Curt Florczak's guitars frame up the doctrine. Allen provides omniscient testimony to the verite stories of a wayward flock. The board keeps everyone distinct in the mix.
The snippets caught of those stories compel. They make you wish that you could turn to page 137 in your hymnal to follow the full text. This Fringe Religion doesn't go in for snakes, iconography or speaking in tongues. Allen and Florczac's guitars have contrasting and complementary styles. Allen plays a crisp but flowing rhythm and takes a couple snappy solos. Florczac adds most of the slap and dash punctuation and amens. His body english offsets the stand-up physicality of Minister Allen and the stoic deacon Chicago Vin. Tired of the smoke and mirrors at your current religious community? Greg Allen's Fringe Religion will leave the door open for you.
Jane Lee Hooker headline. These gals take their blues seriously. Their lead with Muddy Waters Mannish Boy stakes out the rocking blues territory of their originals. These beats are in our collective DNA and the dancers are inexorably drawn to the light. These guys reclaim that British blues sound and overlay a bit of New York guitar attitude. Hightop and T-Bone - Tina Gorin on Fender and Les Paul light up the solos. They finish each other's sentences and keep your ears moving left to right and back again. The rhythm section keeps the familiar changes in your face and on your feet. Dana Athens controls center stage with a wide range of scorched ground, don't try this at home, vocals and spinal contortions. Jane Lee Hooker stand on the shoulders of giants and do it hard and proud.