The Hippo


Aug 23, 2019








Courtesy photo.

Manchuka Mardi Gras Party 

When: Tuesday, Feb. 13, 7 p.m.
Where: Village Trestle, Goffstown

Bon temps rouler
Horn band Manchuka plays Mardi Gras party

By Michael Witthaus

 If it’s Fat Tuesday, it’s time for Manchuka. The nine-piece funky dance band from Manchester is a Mardi Gras fixture going back to its residency days at Milly’s and Shaskeen Pub. Musically, they’re more East Bay Grease than Cajun groove, but when they rip into Dr. John’s “Right Place, Wrong Time,” you can definitely smell the crawfish boiling.

For Manchuka leader, singer and keyboard player Reid Trevaskis, the northern celebration of a southern tradition offers a good reason to kick out the jams. 
“Honestly, we are a fun party band, and Mardi Gras is just an excuse to come out and party on a Tuesday,” he said in a recent interview.
For the fourth year in a row, the shindig is at Village Trestle in Goffstown. Trevaskis is a big fan of the place, calling it his favorite area venue, alongside Tower Hill Tavern in Weirs Beach. 
“The Sunday jam is one of the best around, and I really like the improvements,” he said of the work done by owners Brenda Cadieux and Amberly Gibbs. “I know how hard it is to run a restaurant  and club; their hard work has paid off.”
Manchuka formed around a shared love of soul music and jazz, playing everything from Tower of Power to the Young Rascals, Herbie Hancock and Rick James. The lineup has changed over the years; lead saxophone player and co-founder Dom DiNardo retired in March. 
“We started the band together almost 15 years ago, and while it’s sad not to have him next to me, I fully understand needing a break,” Trevaskis said.  
Taking over on lead sax is longtime baritone Greg Mostovoy.
Another departure is guitarist Steve Moreau, who left to join country singer April Cushman’s band. Typical of the group’s many comings and goings, Moreau began on drums, left, and returned on guitar.  
“I suspect at some point he will learn a completely different instrument and come back,” Trevaskis said with a laugh. “Once a Manchukan, always a Manchukan!”
Beyond that, the group plays fewer gigs these days. 
“When I took over the band last year, I made an executive decision to give the ‘every Tuesday’ residency a rest for a while,” Trevaskis said. “Between the Shaskeen and Milly’s, we played every week in Manchester for eight years. I found myself getting burned out.”
The physical wear and tear of getting to and from shows was a bigger factor in the decision than making music — which he finds himself doing often, even while on a recent vacation in Florida. “Doing what I love to do,” he explained. 
Along with the bands he’s in, Trevaskis is working on a solo album. 
“I’ll most likely have the Manchuka horns and various friends sitting in on that,” he said.
As a guitar player, early influences remain his guiding lights.
“Clapton, Bloomfield, Albert and B.B. King, Johnny Winter, Jeff Beck and countless others. I often joke that my playing style is, ‘if it doesn’t sound right, bend it,’ but the end result is all me, for what it’s worth,” he said with a laugh.
Though his NYC band The Funky Knights is on hiatus, Trevaskis keeps busy with solo and duo gigs, backing singers like Lisa Marie and Amy Herrera and playing in a wedding band. 
“In the past few years, however, I’ve been trying to cut back and only play the gigs that I enjoy,” he said. “I’ve been very fortunate to work as often as I want over the years.”
He’s spent decades in the local music scene and likes the current state of affairs. 
“People have a tendency to complain, but I see a lot of variety out there,” he said, noting a vibrant country music community and “a punk kinda scene going on at the Shaskeen [and] the solo artists I see are all over the map genre-wise.”
Seek and ye shall find, he urged. 
“There should be something for everyone,” he said. “Clubs come and go, it’s the nature of business, but the music is out there. That’s why it’s so important for people to go out and support live music and the clubs that have it. Even if you don’t drink, have a burger or something to help out — and don’t forget to tip.” 

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