My wife and I went to a concert with some friends last night that featured two amazing bands: The Fundamental Elements and Scratch Track. Let me first go on record as saying that this show was quite possibly one of the best indie concerts around. In fact, I will go so far as to say that it is one of the best shows I may have ever seen. What this show lacked in big budget sets, pyrotechnics, and video screens it more than made up for in showmanship, creativity, and top notch musicianship. I was not familiar with The Fundamental Elements prior to this show. They fuse elements of blues, jazz, pop, and hip hop into a style that is accessible to all types of people. On multiple songs frontman Russ Mohr will go from rapping to singing to showing off his chops on the trumpet. Of course no great show is complete without a drum solo. Top it off with a bass showcase like you’ve never seen and you have the makings of a fantastic, seasoned band.
However, let’s not forget about the headliners. Scratch Track is comprised of two guys, Jason Hamlin and DJ Lee. Jason is a guitar mastermind who knows no limits when holding an axe. DJ is the voice of the band. He not only sings and raps but he also beatboxes. Still, how big of a sound can two men and a guitar make? Well, add in effects, a loop station, and plenty of creativity and you have something that sounds like a full band with the unique offerings of two men. Both men showcase their talents with solo sessions. DJ begins with a beatboxing display that has him playing the role of a DJ who is scratching his way through tracks and beats. Then Jason steps up to show the variety of his skills with the guitar. He switches gears from the acoustic hip hop sound and shows the crowd a little of his classical side. He then lets loose by turning the guitar over on his lap and playing it with pencils. I am a firm believer that he can do whatever he wants to do with an acoustic guitar much in the same manner as Phil Keaggy (though I say that with a little hesitation and much respect for Keaggy). Watching Scratch Track perform is an experience.
The show ended with The Fundamental Elements coming on stage to join Scratch Track for a super band performance. I would like to add that I thought the venue, 12th and Porter, did an outstanding job with the light sequencing. The light sequences transformed this venue from a small club into the feel of an auditorium.
So go listen to their music online. If they are coming to your town, be sure to go check them out live. I promise you will not be disappointed.