Backup Planet is a progressive funk-rock band based out of Nashville, Tennessee. To see Backup Planet perform live is to simultaneously travel back in time and forward into the future. Their truly unique sound emanates from a place that seems familiar, yet unchartered. Elements of jazz, funk, roots, blues, electronic, and progressive rock all emerge during the course of their shows. Their sound draws from so much you’ve heard before—‘70s rock and funk, high-energy improv, a touch of pop, and a sliver of metal. But the members of Backup Planet mix and match those elements—with just a hint of modern tech to burnish a sturdy nucleus of retro-minded organ and guitar—in ways that never fail to astonish. With a fantastic repertoire of original songs, they’re able to build fluid sets interspersed with extended improvisation.
Incorporating some degree of uncertainty into live performances is innate to the improvisational, or ‘jam band,’ music scene. Audiences can sense when a group takes major risks onstage; the elements of surprise and unpredictability foster a level of joy unparalleled in other types of musical performances. Masters of this process, Ben Cooper, Gavin Donati, Blake Gallant, and Carson Brown, are doing all of the above while their rapidly growing fan base nods in approval and shouts for more.
Hailed as a breakthrough act to watch in 2017, lespecial, based in Boston and upstate New York, have established themselves as innovators and tastemakers on their own unique trajectory. “Disguised as an average power trio from Boston, lespecial creeps around corners and reaches into the darkest depths of the absurd. lespecial is meticulous, creative and defiant; eclectic, multi-talented and driven. The band prides itself in extending the boundaries of musical ability, rebelliously laying waste to the limits of popular music.” (Ragin Randy Entertainment) Labeled with such unique descriptions as “dark future groove” or “death funk” to “trance metal” or “haunted house party music”, it is tough to put one’s finger on this dangerous and determined trifecta’s distinct sound. A lespecial set brings their signature blend of psychedelic metal infused funk along with deep, thumping synths and 808s that will have your hips swaying as quick as your head banging. From the band’s origins as three friends in high school in the woods of Connecticut who shared a passion for building unique instruments and hitting them with drum sticks, through studying music at a collegiate level to now running their own music school and studio, The Music Cellar, in Millerton NY, Jonny Grusauskas (guitar/synth/sampler/percussion/vocals), Luke Bemand (bass/synth/percussion) and Rory Dolan’s (drums/samples) unique chemistry is what gives them their incomparable personality. As Steve Morse, Boston Globe writer and Berklee College of Music professor, claims, “They are virtuoso players- and they really listen to each other closely, which is what raises them apart from today’s progressive wannabees”. After several, eclectic EP releases, their debut album, “Omnisquid”, released in 2015, finds the band “jumping through periods of hypnotic rhythms, catchy riffs, and synth grooves fit for a club… throw in a healthy dose of heavy metal and punk influenced guitar, and you have one of the most interesting new albums out there.” (Monkeygoose Magazine). ITDJENTS claims “For fans of King Crimson, Tool, Nine Inch Nails and Battles this is definitely the album for you”. The band’s expansive catalogue of singles and videos, including arrangements of everyone from Kanye West to Skrillex to Fela Kuti, is keeping all eyes and ears on lespecial as they prove in clubs and festivals nationwide why Relix Magazine claims “Amidst the rest of the noise, lespecial is the squeaky wheel that demands attention.”