Recipe for Rock: Perpetual Groove kicks out the jams Saturday at Crystal Bay Casino
A band whose bread and butter is jam has an appetite for something new.
As its name implies, Perpetual Groove, out of Athens, Ga., is best-known for its “trace arena rock” jam sessions. But its third album, “Livelovedie” is a step in another direction.
“It has a little more edge, a little more crunch to what we do,” said drummer Albert Suttle. “It’s not that we don’t enjoy jamming ” that’s our bread and butter. We’re trying to be a bit more thought-provoking with our lyrics. If we can throw that into the mix with what we’ve already established, then hopefully that will just make us a more well-rounded band.”
The style comes across as a little bit Cracker and ” with vocalist Brock Butler ” a lot R.E.M., another Athens band with a social conscience.
“We’re trying to make a good, positive change through music,” Suttle said. “We want to make (our message) more subtle or under the radar. We don’t want to force anything on anybody. We want everybody to be happy.”
Saturday’s free Crown Room show will be the band’s second appearance at Crystal Bay. It will be part of a five-town Northern California tour. Perpetual Groove also plays San Francisco, Santa Cruz, Sonoma and Eureka before heading to Southern California for three more shows.
A two-disc live album, “The Cave,” is due out this spring, Suttle said.
Perpetual Groove was formed in the late ’90s by four students at the Savannah College of Art and Design. Drummer Joe Stickney and keyboardist Brett Hinton quit the band after graduation.
Brock, who also plays guitar, and bass player Adam Perry met Suttle and keyboardist Matt McDonald at an open mic night in a Savannah tavern.
“It was ironic that their drummer and keyboarder had just left,” Suttle said.
Suttle and McDonald had been members of an Army band stationed at nearby Fort Stewart.
“When 9/11 happened I was concerned I might be stuck in the military for a long time, but I got out early because according to the Army I was overweight,” he said.
“Matt had to go AWOL for a two- or three-week period just to do a mini-tour to help get us going. He almost got thrown in the brig for it, but what it really did was speed up his disembarkation process from the Army.”
If the band has any regrets, it would be its choice of name, Suttle said. As the new album indicates, Perpetual Groove is evolving from the jam band sound.
“If you’re going to try to call yourself an artist, you’ve go to take some risks and see what your boundaries are, and that’s what we’ve been trying to do,” Suttle said.
With ambition, expert musicianship, a solid engineer and record company in Robert Hannon and Tree Leaf Music, the band is worth paying attention to. Moreover, it’s one worth watching at its Tahoe stop at North Shore.
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