PaJamuary: Not for Sleepers. A concert review with photos. By:Michael Wallentin

Pajamuary : Not for Sleepers. 

On January 21st, we entered the first few days of Trump’s presidency and all needed weekend break. Luckily for our great and lively music scene here in the city of Chicago, us heads had reason to get out to the hallowed venue, Lincoln Hall for a night of amazing music. One more Saturday night was in full effect and represented the fifth annual Pajamuary party featuring EGi. They brought along friends Vibe and Direct, as well as the Chicago powerhouse group, Spread. The premise behind Pajamuary is the idea that everyone in attendance would be wearing pajamas. While many came dressed in their nighty outfits for a quick five dollar discount, of course many others were not so quick to remove normal clothing. Alas, the night was one to remember.
Vibe & Direct is an emerging three-piece jam band that made headway throughout the Midwest. Originally from Cleveland, Ohio; the three guys have been able to create quite the following. The trio plays music as an ever-changing and evolving concoction, that smoothly blends many flavors of the musical spectrum. The band, backed by drummer Danny Gianetto, finds energy through any pocket. And he did this flawlessly on this night. In front of him are Michael Miller on guitar, and Doug Rab on the bass. They have found the formula to bring the heat each and every night they hit the stage. Their set on the 21st was full of originals, and high-flying versions at that. They showed up for the show, and completely proved what their hype is all about. Including a very rare, charismatic covers of Lotus’ ‘Nematode’, taking it to their own heights as a jam, ‘Summer Breeze’ a Seals and Croft classic. I believe Chicago will always be more than welcoming to these boys. And the crowds are more than excited to see much more from them in the coming future. 

Opening Setlist from Vibe & Direct : 
Chrysanthemum, Nematode*, Silly Lilly, Help Train, Summer Breeze**, Nub Dubby 
(Notes) : * - Lotus. ** - Seals and Croft 
Second up was the Chicago favorite, Spread. The band hails out of Carbondale, Illinois, forming outside of Southern Illinois University. The have shown that their ideas have no bounds in the jam world. Beginning in 2008, they have since toured many stops in the country, and found their way onto many festival lineups. The band consists of four solid gentleman. Dave Petrizzo, the axe-man, brings delightful energy, and uniqueness to the Spread sound. Colin Finn on bass, and Patrick Reynolds behind the drums, pound effortless structure as a duo. The band is tied together by the ever-talented Joe Kentos on boards, who builds with powerful rhythms, and houses an excellent vocal arsenal. They brought forth a few surprises at Lincoln Hall. Opening the show with the beginning of ‘Sideways’ they showed their abilities by sandwiching ‘Chocolate Latte’ by playing just the ending of ‘Elbow Slap’. A simple, but effective way to create space in a timed set. With the pleasantly surprising cover of the Grateful Dead’s, ‘Alligator’ in its entirety, they once again proved to be stellar, with Reynolds effectively delivering the lyrics as he drummed. It was gloriously covered with Spread-like charm, and glory. Ending off the set the boys brought out the Funk Vendetta, a horn group consisting of Marty Gierczyk, and Chris Stein. As well as the inclusion of Chicago native, Jaik Willis. Jaik was clad in a bathrobe, swinging a pair of kinky handcuffs on his left index finger, while wielding the mic in his right. Eventually during the debut cover of ‘Handcuffs’, a song risque as it sounds, Jaik reveals that underneath his robe was only him in an adult diaper. Leaving him alone in cowboys boots, dancing to the mad, mad funk that was evolving behind him on the stage. Once again, Spread was able to bring forth another solid performance in true Pajamuary fashion. 

Spreadlist : 
Sideways* > Chocolate Latte > Elbow Slap**, Alligator, Hip to Trix > Dr. Fong, Handcuffs^ > Pajama People > Handcuffs^, Move on Up, Oceans. 
(Notes) * - Intro only, ** Ending only, ^ - Cover debut with Jaik Willis in a diaper, and the Funk Vendetta horns, Marty Gierczyk, Chris Stein. 

So that leaves EGi. A group of local boys from Lake Zurich, Illinois. If you haven’t ever heard of the group, its about time that you have. EGi has been able to show their evolution will stand conclusive on hard work, and solid structure. The band recently acquired a new drummer Dana Thompson, a powerhouse built between big-house Church gigs, and rock and roll. For founding members Noe Perez, James Hernandez, and bassman Allan Borukhovich, the transition was seemless. Since 2009 the band has been generating popularity within the Midwest, and far beyond it. Touring states like Colorado, Montana, and Michigan they have found many places to call home. 

The band creates energy out of nothing, no matter how filled the room. And Lincoln Hall was no exception to that rule. I have to highlight the excellent renditions of ‘Fresh’, ‘Blindfold’. An opening ‘Sands’ created the roll for what was an uplifting wave of a set. They were absolutely tearing through the tunes with precision, and mixed masterfully with improvisational pockets.The room had filled to capacity, and everyone was riding the groove train that is EGi. Again providing what they have become loved for, was a cover of ‘Achilles Last Stand’ by Led Zeppelin. Powerful, and true, Dana showed exactly what he was made of drumming off Bonham. To end the night off the boys wrapped it up with a well placed ‘Pimpson’ to send the party people on their way. This will not be the last time we see EGi. 

EGi Tunes :
Sands, Fresh, Vessel, Headphones, Blindfold, Achilles Last Stand*, Pimpson
(Notes) : * - Led Zeppelin  

Words: Michael Wallentin 
Photos: Tim Regan
Edited by:Greg Heffelfinger
 
 
 

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