Winter 2018 has been a strange season here in New York City for even the long-term resident. With unusual warm days that appear out of nowhere that disappear as soon as they arrive, it just makes waking up a daily adventure. However, a few weekends past, the weather was funneled into the city streets thanks to the nor’easter that brought swirling sleet and chill to the bone wind. Gusts that hit every soul to the core made easy journeys tough ones. Despite all of this flurry of shivering activity, that did not stop listeners from enjoying the musical goodness the metropolis had to offer. Down in the lower east side of Manhattan, Arlene’s Grocery hosted the Long Island funk-rock quintet Zestrove who unveiled new tracks and old to a crowd that sorely needed it.
Amidst the streets of broken umbrellas and slippery slush, fans were eager to get inside and warm up with a drink and solid tunes. With hoods up and gloved hands shielding faces from the ever-changing winds, it was now a mission to make use of a Friday evening as best they could. Arlene’s Grocery was a respite with warmth and copious drinks to save the frivolity of the evening. The tight, shady and grungy venue was the perfect way to escape the elements. There was little to no wait as the men graced the stage to set up.
The members of the crew; Alex Kamm, Andrew Pomerantz, Logan Whaley, Michael Fera and Nick Fera were men who came to please. Professionals all the way through, their organization and preparation was quick and smooth. Silence hovered between them all as their stern faces were devoted heavily on their individual instrument checks. Anticipation lay heavily in the air as the final checks came into play. A sparse crowd came trickling in and grew by the minute. Friends and fans clamored to the front of the concert floor. With drinks in hand, these listeners all gave intermittent cheers that perked up the musicians. Banter saved the day and eased the flow of the set to come. One fan, sporting a Zestrove t-shirt, brought up a small wooden ‘Zestrove’ sign and placed it promptly in front of one of the amplifiers. It was a simple and sweet promotion. After an entertaining check with the microphones with phrases and shouts, the fans cheered even more for added motivation. Chatter began to overwhelm the space and the traditional weekend vibes were under way at last. Nick added the last bit of zest by placing various lemons and limes on stage for their band flair. Their trademark bits will not go unnoticed down the line. Grins began to grow on all of the Zestrove men and noises fluttered out of their instruments.
Michael took things off right from the start on his drums with a quick and steady beat. It was then that it seemed like their introduction turned into a rendition of the theme song from Doug! It was a clever and elaborate jam that eased the tension even more. A bouncy bit followed with with smiles right behind. Fans were already dancing up front. Jazzy funk notes popped in and brought the energy to a supremely groovy place. Zestrove had great rhythm and a solid drift with their slick licks provided by Mr. Whaley. Nick’s vocals lead the charge and kept it all in line with a funky grace. Andrew also kept it cool on bass in true spirit of the instrument. A spiral of lights came on in the room to full acclaim that added onto the vibe. It was officially the weekend now. Mr. Kamm on the organ brought to the music shared harmonies and a energetic flicker on the ivories.
They wasted no time and showed that they could keep it funky in each his own way while holding true to the collective sound that came bursting through. A catchy and poppy trend kept the listeners fixated on the tracks. It was hard not to become addicted and curious for more as time went on. As usual, hippies, in tie dye and long hair, twirled up front and gave the audience in the back a delightful show. Luckily, the organ provided a necessary distraction and was steady in between the guitar riffs. Individual solos flew in nicely and the funk-blues was wound up in there. Michael had pursed lips and constant emotion on his face. He was full in it and gave in to the music at hand. Warbled guitars entered the equation and the thrust of funk permeated the atmosphere.
For almost every track, Logan took over solo duties to wow the crowd to a full bomb of noise. He constantly plopped around on the stage and lived in his own little world of wailing glory. There were definitely some jazzy inspiration embedded alongside some Reggae that made a subtle appearance. Jamming could be prompted easily and all bobbed to it every step of the way.
Zestrove made sure to take things down with a slow and somber track that lead into a soul tornado. They connected well and lead each instrument into a great orchestration of a composition that worked across many levels of the craft. With eyes down, they were absorbed into their instruments and creative imagination. Exploration was the key and came at a great sense of improvisation. Not all of their songs were vocal inclusive fully. In those moments, they offered long jam sessions that ensured listening pleasure. Music fans never truly knew where the tunes were going. However, they always were successful. The men of Zestrove were masters of allowing the jam sessions to synchronize right into the next track seamlessly. Golden organ solos made the listeners urge for more with every pluck. Audience members couldn’t help but bounce. In all of their songs, the harmonies were wild and complete.
Towards the end of their set, Nick made sure to introduce the merchandise corner that offered shirts, their EP ‘Shuck and Slide’ and posters. After that, Nick’s guitar string broke, yet that did nothing to pause their performance. The men continued on with a jam session that saved the night. It was suave and full bodied. Viewers had to admire their professionalism once again here for keeping the show going onwards. It was an ideal way to show off, once more, those improvisational skills. Needless to say, the technical delay was fixed in a jiffy. With their final track in play, one of the hippies started juggling some of the lemons as the Doug theme song played the men out to rambunctious cheers.
Give their videos Watch The Fuzz and Dust and Rain a watch and a listen below:
Also, give their EP ‘Shuck and Slide’ a listen below: