Eclecticity: Oct. 11 at Green Frog

By: Daniel De Lisle

Eclecticity releasing a CD Positive Peace on a Thursday night at the Green Frog seemed like a crapshoot to me. No opening band, only playing until 11:30pm, and a $5 cover all on a weeknight. With the exception of the new Green Frog being an incredible venue and Eclecticity being a band of elite musicianship this affair had all the makings of a busted night in my mind. I could not have been more wrong.

Apparently I did not get the message. I arrived on musician time- fifteen minutes late, and the first thing I noticed was how loud it was. Not just that the music was already driving but there was a huge crowd of people yelling and swinging their butts around. It was 9:45pm and the Green Frog was by all appearances packed, unusual for the typical subdued starts you can expect in the 360. I fought my way to the bar and was shocked to see it mostly empty save a few bewildered patrons and a couple relaxed bartenders. Not only had Eclecticity packed the Frog on a Thursday night but absolutely no one was there to do anything but dance and cheer. To get a mostly sober crowd to act the way they did that night was remarkable. People were dancing on benches, swinging each other around, there was one girl going around giving everyone very sincere hugs. When Eclecticity named their CD “Positive Peace”, I like to imagine that is what they were thinking of.

Samuel Eisen-Meyers’s fingernails are impressive. Damn impressive. Not only are they longer then yours but there is a significant chance they are more talented as well. He uses them to pick the strings on his guitar like a classical musician, except for one major difference-Classical guitar players play on nylon strings and Eisen-Meyers melts faces with ridiculously awesome, overdriven soul guitar. Sammy’s got more tasty licks then a Tootsie Roll Pop and the rest of the band is just as talented. Christian Casolary on the skins can seamlessly move from a simple groove, to a suffocating heavy metal drum fill, to an 11/8 time signature, then back to the groove before your pee reaches the bottom of your leg. Frank Vitolo can play alto sax so sweetly he’ll give you cavities, Matt Pollock could easily play bass for any currently touring band, and I’m pretty sure I’ve heard Justin Smith play 12 part harmonies on his Hammond B3 organ despite an assumed lack of fingers to do so. On top of all this I have never met another musician in my life who can incite an audience like Jimmy Austin, every time he picks up his trombone I feel like jumping and shouting and I can’t explain why.

I just about drove myself crazy trying to name the genre Eclecticity belongs to because an average song of theirs will cover four or five different kinds. They are truly eclectic. At the end of the day though I believe they are a soul band with a healthy smattering of blues, funk, classic rock, jazz, and Latin. They make fantastic music that is as interesting to listen to as it seems challenging to play. It might actually be too interesting at times. As an audience member I often found myself unable to dance because either the beat was too complex or I was too engrossed with listening to realize I wasn’t moving anymore. My largest criticism of them is actually how quickly they move between ideas and groves in their music. Just when the audience has settled into part of a song Eclecticity is already onto the next one. It can be unsettling at times, I find that a quick step outside is usually necessary at some point during their set. The inclusion of guest singers and artists they invite on stage is a wonderful treat you can expect from them at any of their shows. It is obvious they enjoy letting friends showcase talent and I personally hope they invite one of their newer guest artists Elian Carbone to be the full time singer. Every time he was on stage he stole the show with great enunciation and a powerful, styled voice that really carried Samuel’s poignant lyrics.

They might not be for the average bar goer because it is impossible to be passive at an Eclecticity performance. Music like this is impossible to ignore, something I’m sure they are counting on as they further try to cement their place in Bellingham’s fantastic community.