Frank Viele trimmed down the band and has Eddie Arjun Peters and Matt Mirando with him on the current acoustic tour. This tour hit two locations in New Hampshire. The first stop in New Hampshire was The Shaskeen in Manchester.
If you didn’t make it downtown on Thursday night, you missed out on some great music at a great small venue. Normally Frank has the entire band with him, but with the scaled back trio it creates an atmosphere for fans, new and old, to get up-close and personal.
Viele is trying to achieve something through these smaller intimate gatherings. Maybe something to help you find a more soulful embrace to his music, but without question it’s a means to become more connected with everyone he meets . Whether it was listening to Viele alone on stage or the trio, there were moments that you had to stop, listen, and just say wow.
Viele doesn’t disappoint. He has a certain approach to his music and keeps it real. It speaks to you in a way where you know It means something to him. When you listen to Viele, you’re listening to someone that is pouring everything he has, every time, into the memories he’s written about. For the occasional cover they perform the same energy is poured into it. It’s obvious everyone in the trio has created their own connection to those songs as well. He captures the energy in a room and directs it right back, feeding constantly off everyone in attendance. By the nights end, no matter how long he and his band have played, it will never be enough.
I first met Viele at the New England Music Awards this past March, they were one of the performers that night and Nominee for best band in Connecticut. After they played their first song my eyes began to open to the quality of music that’s available all around us. After their set that night, I told Frank immediately “that was <expletive> awesome man.” It’s a near certainty that once you see these guys, you’ll have found a love for musicians that maybe aren’t heard about as often, but in many cases are better than so many others. I have to thank these guys every time I see them for helping to open my eyes, and my ears.
Thursday night Peters set his own blue and white jewel of a guitar to the side. Make no mistake Peters plays the strings off that thing on any night of the week, but at the Shaskeen Peters picked up Viele’s guitar and made magic happen .
There’s a commercial where the band is in a bar and the announcer says the guitarist couldn’t make it. Then he says not to worry because they have this other guitarist ready to step in. Yes, that one. The one with Peter Frampton.
It may have sounded it, but make no mistake about it Peters had that guitar talking, not Frampton. It was one of those moments when the hair on the back of your neck stands on end and the feeling travels all the way to the tips of your toes. You want to hear that sound again. You’re captivated by the awesomeness of the moment. Mesmerizing comes to mind when I think of Peters’ performance.
Mirando was chillingly artistic as he strummed, first the 4 string, then switched to the 6 string bass then back again. The Shaskeen isn’t a large venue by any means, but as the bass reverberated around the room, there was no way you could not be taken in by the added depth Mirando gave it.
How good were these three guys from a band out of CT? When Viele pulled out the Ukulele, plugged it in, began tuning it, then Peters came in, then Mirando, then there might have been divine intervention and Otis Redding whispering into Viele’s ear and sitting next to him. That’s how good they were, producing another one of those moments that sent chills down your back. You might not think anyone could pour more raw emotion into “Sittin’ on the Dock of a Bay” than Redding did, but it is possible. People at the Shaskeen witnessed it. I had to set my camera down, I was completely absorbed by the trio.
On an evening that was filled with storytelling on how certain songs came about, and why Viele would even consider “Waterfalls“ as a cover, then blowing you away with his rendition. What might stand out the most could have been how well connected everyone was; the trio seemed to be in perfect harmony – with each other and the audience.
It had to happen. The night had to end as they closed the place after three hours of unadulterated bliss with this acoustic funk trio playing original music and covers. As with any other time you get to see these guys play you’re saying “wait a minute, it can’t be over,” yet sadly it is. When you have the chance to see, hear, and meet these guys you’ll understand why no matter how short, or how long, the time is between gigs you get to go to it will always be far too long of a wait. While it may not be quite the same, having their CDs around that you can pop into the player makes their music not have to be so far away.
As their tour continues to Monopole in Plattsburg, NY on the 21st, they won’t be back to NH until September 1st in Keene for the Keene Music Festival.
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