In early spring 2009, JamAntics emerged from two months of practice almost fully formed and immediately provided a big boost to the area music scene. Rapidly releasing live shows hand-recorded by one of their fans, they generated enough buzz to land a spot opening for a Little Feat summer show at Hampton Beach Casino, scored gigs throughout the Granite State (including headliner shows at Stone Church and Capitol Center for the Arts) and garnered numerous press accolades.
Asked what stands out the most as their two-year anniversary approaches, guitarist Lucas Gallo says, “I think every night is a good moment [but] when you are able to make that connection playing and delivering music to people who appreciate it, any time you can do that, it’s a high point.”
Later this month, the release of the four-song EP World of Make Believe will mark the band’s first studio work. “I think all of us wanted to … lay down some of the stuff that we’ve been working on,”” explains Gallo. “More than anything, we wanted a chance for us to go into the studio and play together there instead of live and get some stuff down.”
Coming up with material wasn’t a problem.
“We have such an ever-growing catalog to choose from and songs being written,” Gallo says. “We whittled it down from 84 to four.”
The band has a number of shows lined up, beginning with a big St. Patrick’s Day appearance at The Shaskeen in downtown Manchester. An official CD release party is set for March 26 at Penuche’s in Concord, and April will include radio appearances and gigs throughout the New England region, and an exciting double bill at the Stone Church on April 9 with New York jam rockers Yarn.
Also happening in April is an evening of music at an unlikely venue, the Red River Theatres in downtown Concord. “We’re really excited about that,” says Gallo, adding that the theater’s management approached them about playing there and “it grew from there. We were able to make it an all-ages show, which we love to do.”
There will be two “no repeat” shows at the 150-seat venue on April 28, and fans who buy a discounted combination ticket for both will be treated to a special acoustic set during the break.
Not content to simply invigorate the local scene with its own music, the band is getting behind a monthly series of performances at Penuche’s in Concord. Once a month through June, the Thursday night JamAntics Presents invites out of town bands of different genres to play at the pub. The first one happened March 10 with Massachusetts-based funk/jam band Fiddlehead. On April 7, it’s a dub step double bill with Outlet and Blue Boy Productions; on May 12, Exeter dance rockers Black Light Ruckus perform, and the Seacoast funk band Gnarlemagne closes out the series on June 9.
“The original idea revolved around getting some DJs or some electronic music down there to test the waters and bring something different in,” Gallo says. “These are bands that we like and [all] have never played in Concord before, so it will be a pretty interesting and wide array of music over the four Thursdays.”
As befits their name, members of the band may sit in occasionally — but that’s not the main point of the shows. “Most all of us are going to be there and there are different opportunities to do different stuff,” says Gallo. “Maybe one will play or one of us will open for the band, but it’s more focused on just getting the music scene continually growing in Concord.”
As the warm weather nears, JamAntics is thinking about the summer festival circuit and the community-building it offers. They’ve already booked a return trip to the three-day Big Up Festival in upstate New York at the end of July.
Two years down the road, the band’s chemistry is even better than it was at the beginning. At times, it’s as if a sixth member is on stage with them, stitching the riffs and rhythms together.
“We try to have really good communication outside of performing and writing, and I think the energy has grown between us on stage and is ever-growing,” says Gallo. “Everybody individually and as a unit has such a good time performing and writing, and that energy just keeps building on itself … we want to continually grow and change and be better musicians and better as a band and it all meshes on stage.”