Trad-Plus & Genetics 11.14.14

The 1up - Colfax
Denver, CO

Words & Photos By Brad Yeakel (Opti Mystic Outlooks)

Friday was unusual for me. My lady was out of state and I decided to go hit the town. After a mostly liquid dinner at World of Beer, I was off to The 1up - Colfax. I had never seen Chris Padolfi's solo project, but expected a bluegrass show. I was more than a little surprised by what I heard.

For some reason or another, Trad Plus gave up their headlining slot and gave Genetics the main slot. When Pandolfi and his drummer took the stage, I was really surprised by the sound. Funky, electronic, loop-based jams were punctuated by live drumming, creating a sound that fell somewhere between Break Science and Bela Fleck. Much like Master Fleck, Pandolfi has taken the banjo off the front porch and into the laboratory.

The rich, thick output sounded much fuller than a two piece band would have you expect. During one jam Chris teased Phish's "Sand," bending it to his style and riffing on it before moving on. The project definitely had potential, but felt a bit like a rough draft instead of a developed performance. The strengths lied in Chris's picking and original style. The live drumming gave the project gravity. Since it was only the first performance of Trad-Plus with a drummer, I'm guessing there will be improvement as they build a rapport with each other and the material. It wasn't bad for an early gig in a young band's life.

Having shifted slots with Trad-Plus, Genetics closed things down. Genetics hadn't let me down yet. There was something about their sound that really appealed to me immediately. They caught my attention with their groove-centric flow and thick, wet tone.

It felt as though the night had been inverted. As Trad-Plus finished, several people in the crowd left to go tend to their tomatoes, or play bridge, or something. The floor seemed to thin out before Genetics ever had a chance to wow them. That was a shame. Had they stayed, they'd have been treated to a young band with solid talent, dropping casual electro-funk like bosses.

Sparse vocals and deep diving instrumental passages blended together as they wove their way through songs with no breaks in stride or energy. I admired their ambition, playing to an underwhelming crowd and not letting it weigh on their music at all. They gave 110% regardless, and that spoke to their passion and dedication to their art.

Bassist Joel Searls and drummer Nat Snow had been in bands together before, and it showed. They locked into step and propelled the smooth, svelte sound. Ivory tickler Scott Anderson and guitarist Jeff Ervine added melodic and rhythmic lines which were very supportive in nature, as they fused with the rhythm section to drive a cohesive, balanced mix that was better than most margaritas. All in all, the band was good with a ton of potential to be great. The casual, cavalier ease with which they seemed to play made me wonder what would happen if they really drove it hard.

It was not my first Genetics show, and it certainly won't be my last. I stumbled out of The 1up satisfied. Hammered, but satisfied. I ambled down Colfax, onto the 16th Street Mall Ride, and eventually onto the W line, westbound. Saturday morning was an unwelcome intrusion, and I popped some ibuprofen and went back to bed, a victim of The 1up and her vices.

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