Boulder, Colorado’s The Fox Theatre threw a month-long 25th-anniversary celebration back in March featuring acts that helped build the venue up in its early days. Bands such as The String Cheese Incident, The Motet, Leftover Salmon, and The Greyboy Allstars, among others, all came back to the 600-capacity venue to celebrate, pulling packed houses night in and night out. In fitting fashion, there will be one more celebration prior to the end of 2017, as Shockra will bring it back to the old-school, early days of the jam scene on Saturday, December 9th (purchase tickets on Friday, September 15th, here).
For those that may not be “in the know,” Shockra—who played one of the first shows at The Fox—was straight out of the earliest beginnings of what we now know the jam scene to be, back in the late 80’s, alongside acts like Phish, Blues Traveler, Widespread Panic, and Col. Bruce Hampton and the Aquarium Rescue Unit. A lot of cross-pollination was going on at the time, with many of these bands joining up and heading out on tours together, sitting in with each other during the other’s set, and throwing many parties turned late-night jam sessions at Shockra’s band house, Neptune, making the scene what it would eventually become.
What initially started out as blues band Graffiti, Berklee College of Music students Felix Rentschler (guitar), Edwin Hurwitz (bassist), original drummer Jonathan Abel, along with Jeff Grove (tenor sax/vocals), eventually went on to create more of an exploratory funk/world beat fusion sound. Eventually, the group shed the Graffiti moniker for Shockra, added Dan Coutu on keys, and Abel left the band, which made room for Berklee student Dave Watts (who, as we know now, went on to form The Motet) to make a name for himself. Shockra released 1991’s Garuda’s Groove and toured heavily in support of the album, headlining venues east to west while building a loyal fanbase. The group would eventually break up in the late 90’s, but would make a few return appearances over the years, making the coming show at The Fox that much more intriguing.
Shockra was a mainstay in the Boston bar and underground music scene and shared the stage with Phish on many occasions and sit-ins (Jon Fishman made an appearance with the band at NYC’s Wetlands Preserve back in ’92). Another interesting little tidbit of information is that Mike Gordon actually took slap bass lessons from Hurwitz, who was considered one of the best at the time. Gordo “bass bombs” might not quite be what they are today if it wasn’t for Hurwitz.
Tickets for Shockra at The Fox Theatre on Dec. 9th will be on-sale this coming Friday, Sept. 15th at 10 am MDT and can be purchased here. For show updates and additional information, join the Facebook Event page. Plus, check out this full recording from a Shockra show at Burlington’s K.D. Churchill’s, which sees the members of Phish sit-in during the entire second set of the show.
[via taper james_dineen]
Setlist: Shockra | K.D. Churchill’s | Burlington, VT | 2/1/92
Set One: Give It Up, Spread The Word->Dimension Extension, Tone Clone*
Set Two: Sippin Pippa*->The Worms Crawl In *, Don’t Let It Stop Ya *
* With all members of Phish
Notes via phish.net: On February 1st, the members of Phish joined Shockra for their show at K.D. Churchill’s in Burlington. Mike was taking lessons in slap bass from Shockra’s bassist Edwin around that time and the two bands were spending some time together with Shockra opening some classic Phish concerts in the Northeast in 1991. On the 1st, Phish took the stage with Shockra for their second set, performing Shockra staples like “Tone Clone,” “Don’t Let it Stop Ya,” and “Underground People” as well as some funky, syncopated jamming. This was the first of a number of live jams the bands played together through the years at Boston’s Neptune House and later at Shockra club performances in 1992 and 1993.
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