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October 6, 2009 5:59 am

Coffeehouse Performers Don't Feel the Chill Despite the Cold

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Coffeehouse Performers Don't Feel the ChillLast Thursday’s Coffeehouse was another big hit.  The cold October 1st night didn’t deter a modest but enthusiastic audience from attending, and they were not disappointed.  The six-man band Half the Battle, solo act Nick Hughes, and the three-piece band Kaleidotropic proved to be a recipe for a successful evening.

The entity of Half the Battle has existed in many forms over the past seven years, and the band has seen a number of different lineups as it evolved.  The most recent strain of Half the Battle includes Mike Selkmann on bass, Kyle Sullivan on guitar, keyboards by Jack Leathers, two brothers identified to this reporter as Jack and Matt “Bogandor” on drums and rhythm guitar, and their newest lead singer Patrick Gilbert.  Their sound is an in-your-face throwback to the 90s alternative scene, bringing such songs to life as the Spin Doctors’ “Two Princes” and Sublime’s “What I Got.”  They also wrote a couple songs of their own, including “Bonfire” and “Get off My Mind.”  By the end, at the constant urging of the keyboardist, they were tackling Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing,” and they finished off with “Livin’ on a Prayer” by Bon Jovi.

“We appreciate everyone who came out despite the cold to see us,” says Leathers, and he went on to promise free hats for all Half the Battle fans who turn out next time they perform… maybe.  They were able to put on a decent show even after having to pause halfway through to move their cars off the sidewalk for safety reasons, to which they replied, “Thanks P.S., we feel a lot safer now that we can’t get to our cars.”  But as any rising band knows, setting up before the show is half the battle.

Next up was singer/electric-guitar-player Nick Hughes, who also coordinates the electronic equipment that makes Coffeehouse possible.  Technically he was playing solo, but he was able to achieve the sound of a full band complete with a drums and synthesizers with the help of an array of self-crafted computer beats.  After warming up the crowd with a few original songs, his fellow band mates joined him on stage to form Kaleidotropic.  This spacey instrumental group featured the afore-mentioned Nick Hughes on guitar and bass, Justin Williams on drums, and the dreadlocked “Swage” on guitar, bongos, and electric violin.  The band played a trio of extensive jam sessions that did not need vocals; they meshed together very well and produced a solid sound that was at the same time psychedelic and ethereal.  Even the band members could not fully explain the essence of their music, but it could possibly be described as progressive funk jazz psychedelia mixed with a little metal and brought to a rolling boil.

As good as these bands are, they can’t play every Thursday.  If you can sing or play an instrument and are interested in performing at Coffeehouse, then please contact Meghan Milsted.

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