At the recent benefit concert at the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge in Middletown, it was a pleasure to catch a band with local ties like "Milkbread"perform at such a great event.
If you missed this impressive young band, you can catch Milkbread this weekend when they play the Wheelhouse Tavern in Narragansett on Sept. 18 at 9pm, and I'm sure you'll find they're well worth the trek across the bridge.
Milkbread brings together students from the University of Rhode Island. The chosen band name is from the first two words taken off a convenience store sign in Newport, according to their official explanation on their Facebook page.
I caught up with the band at the recent fundraiser for the Hanna Grace Foundation, which earlier that day had included a spear-fishing event followed by live music at the FOP Lodge in Middletown, put on by the Marvelle family to raise money for the MAGIC Foundation to benefit children with growth disorders.
As I waited to hear Milkbread, I had the chance to speak with a few band members. They were all very welcoming and excited with their latest untitled project and I, as a tough music critic, wanted to hear what they had to offer and give my honest objective opinion. When I'm not writing articles for Patch, I own and manage a recording studio business in Newport and I've developed musical talents and young bands over the years. I'm often out scouting local talents.
First off, this band has unlimited potential. At the FOP Lounge, bassist Dylan LaGamma was punching away bass lines like Victor Wooten and Les Claypool so much so that I was just waiting for him to pull off the vintage Vic Wooten bass swing around the neck.
Milkbread had three songs that really caught my attention: They started with "This Is," which reminded me of a George Clinton funk based band with Shaw's establishing sax leads. They rolled into "All Around the World," in which I couldn't help but think, 'What does this sound like? Because I like it.'
I then realized the Red Hot Chili Peppers influence there, and as they moved into "Sweet Ride," I recognized a Blues Traveler harmonica lead with a 311 feel. They did have some fun with Rob there too, as they wrote him a "Rob's Theme Song."
As an Artist and Repertoire I feel it's an obligation to give them my critique on how I judge bands and offer some advice on where to concentrate. Below is the list that I bring to live shows whenever I scout for local band talent to help them progress into something unique.
Ultimately, my assessment was that Milkbread has the potential to become a solid band that could produce a very unique album once all players start to coordinate their skills and their unique voices grow.
Heard them at: Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #21 Middletown R.I.
Contact: Ben Shaw
Booking: Ben Shaw
Band Genre: Funk/Rock Fusion
Band Members/Instruments played:
Ben Shaw: Vocals, Tenor Sax
Seth Bailey: Trumpet
David DiMaio: Alto & Bari Sax
Matt Reagan: Guitar
Brendan Moore: Keyboard
Dylan LaGamma: Bass
Dylan Sevey: Drums
Sounds Like: Red Hot Chilli Peppers/Early Vic Wooten/G-Love & Special Sauce
Stage Presence: Growing Confidence
Good Songs: "This Is", "All Around the World", "Sweet Ride"
Set List: 1/2 & 1/2 originals and covers as they find their voice
Time of Set: 45 minutes
Mailing List/Merchandise on sale/T-shirts: No
Milkbread next plays Saturday, Sept. 19 at the Wheelhouse Tavern. The show starts at 9 pm, 21+. The cover charge is $5.