One of the last times Aqueous made the trip to New York City was over the summer when they spent the evening warming the crowd up for jam/rock veterans Umphrey’s McGee at Central Park SummerStage. On Friday it was Aqueous’ turn to pull in a headline-worthy crowd and get the weekend started with some oozily fun jams of their own, which they oh so happily supplied.
Friday’s night’s dance party took place at Brooklyn’s Rough Trade, where the Buffalo-based quartet supplied two sets worth of powerful and dynamic songs and instrumental jams. With any jazz-like style of performing, which fuels itself from improvisation and structural chaos, the musical experience can never be predicted. It is however becoming pretty easy to expect nothing but fun and very strong connective playing from the four members of Aqueous recently, as evident from last night’s show.
They spent much of their first set letting their instruments do much of the talking, feeding off one another as they controlled and steered the fluctuating power coming from drummer Rob Houk and guitarist Mike Gantzer. Similar to Umphrey’s, Aqueous have been able to mix together both harder, more progressive rock styles with the looseness and ethereal flow of space funk. Their experience isn’t just noodling however, as they proved they can handle any normal song structure with covers of the Grateful Dead’s “Fire on the Mountain” and Elton John’s “Bennie and the Jets” woven into their second set of the evening.
Now 27 shows into their lengthy North American fall tour, the band showed last night that they’re fully locked in with one another with what could easily been considered the best concert in New York City on Friday. Aqueous will continue to tour across the country throughout the rest of December, before closing their year out with a hometown show at the Town Ballroom in Buffalo, NY on New Year’s Eve.