FOR THE THIRD TIME IN AS MANY YEARS, Athens-based Perpetual Groove (or P-Groove to their fans) returns to their original hometown to headline a fund-raiser for the Jolly Foundation, a local non-profit supporting the environment, the arts and brain injury research.
This weekend’s show (with opening act Optimus Prime) is part of The Save 41 Tour, which began in Delray, Fl. and will criss-cross the USA before ending in Buffalo, N.Y. It finds the progressive, jam-oriented rock quartet playing all manner of venues, from medium sized clubs to 1,000-seat theaters and major music festivals as far away as the Netherlands.
Seth Weiner, who first promoted Tallahassee shows for the group in 2002 and has worked as the band’s publicist for almost three years now, says that in the past few months, interest in the group has reached its highest point to date.
“In the beginning it was very difficult to get anyone to even call us back or pay any attention,” he recalls. “They were pegged as just another jam-band. Now that they’re selling out larger venues, or making environmentally-friendly albums using carbon offsets, suddenly they’re being taken for real. That happens with a lot of bands. It takes a few years for people to catch on.”
Guitarist and frontman Brock Butler says that even the band itself is starting to feel a shift in public perception.
“We sold out the Variety Playhouse in Atlanta and the Cat’s Cradle in Carrboro, N.C. People were turned away at the door, and while I hate to see that, hopefully it means a move to bigger rooms. On the last Jam Cruise (a popular floating music festival), it seemed we had a lot more ‘street-cred’ with some of the older musicians.”
Weiner says P-Groove is uniquely positioned to attract a wider variety of fans than many of their more established peers.
“I think they’re already starting to move beyond the jam-band scene. I think they have the potential to earn fans in the indie-rock scene, just like a lot of bands from that scene fell into the jam-band world.”
Butler makes clear that while his band is not interested in abandoning its core fanbase, the more the merrier, and everyone is welcome to join the party. According to him, the reason Perpetual Groove’s music is catching on with a broad swath of listeners is the inclusive and adventurous nature of the group’s songwriting.
“Most jam-bands usually draw from a lot of past influences,” he offers. “We’re adding more contemporary genres such as indie rock and hip-hop. I don’t think you would have ever heard Jerry Garcia do the Wu-Tang Clan. (laughs) That defines us. We’re up on newer things.”
Butler says while every benefit they’ve played for the Jolly Foundation has been a success on its own terms, he thinks this particular gig stands a good chance of being the most successful. Especially compared to last year’s two-night stand at the Historic Roundhouse.
“That was a really cool idea, but there were tactical errors in the planning. If we’d had that whole group of people in one room for one night it would have served our purpose better and kept our costs down. We played well at the Roundhouse and a lot of people had a good time, but I think being indoors in a proper theater helps with the lights and sound.
“We’re just excited to do this again and very grateful for everyone who attends. We’re fortunate to have the ability to do this kind of thing for friends, and hopefully it’ll be very fruitful.”
Fri., 7 pm, Trustees Theater - ALL-AGES. $20 adv. / $25 at door. Call 525-5050 or go to: www.scadboxoffice.com for tickets.
Like to read the complete transcript of our chat with Brock Butler? Look for the link to the right...
The skinny on P-Groove:
Savannah, Ga., 1997
Brock Butler (guitar, vocals), Adam Perry (bass), Matt McDonald (keyboards) and Albert Suttle (drums)
The Save 41 Tour (32 dates, from Hollywood to Amsterdam)
Echoes From The Cave (live 2-CD set out in late February)
Learn & Listen:
Benefits local Non-Profit The Jolly Foundation (www.jollyfoundation.org)