Asher Fulero Band 9.14.17
Goodfoot Pub & Lounge
Words by Mitch Melheim
Photos by Coleman Schwartz Media
Asher Fulero Band (AFB) is a bit of a supergroup in the Portland scene. Bassist, Brett McConnell, has made a name for himself with Shafty and with his own band, the Brett McConnell Lovetet, who have opened for Medeski Martin & Wood and are slated to play the Goodfoot just a few days after this show. Guitarists Darvey Santner (Goodfoot All-Stars) and Nathan Day (Foster’s Kids) are also both well-known amongst locals, just like drummer Murray Gusseck (Fresh Track, Emulator) whose versatility on the kit has proven to be a bright spot for any band he’s played with.
The band’s sound is heavy on both improvisation and funk, but branches out to touch on elements of jazz-fusion and progressive rock as well. The funk and jam led this one off, opening with Phish’s “Sand” and ironically highlighting Fulero’s keys rather than either of the band’s two guitarists for the typically guitar-laden tune.
Yak Attack’s Dave Dernovsek joined the band on the Goodfoot’s house organ for “Piece,” a dangerously funky AFB original that eventually gave way to “Launchpad.” One of my favorite songs in their catalogue, “Launchpad” gives McConnell a much-needed platform to impress with his exceptional talent on bass. Regularly stretching well past the ten minute mark, this jam was no different as it explored multiple themes before settling on a spacey trance jam that peaked with Fulero’s keys and some exceptional fills and cymbal work from Gusseck that were more akin to what you’d expect to hear from a drum & bass DJ, rather than a jam band drummer.
Local keyboardist, Tom Morrison, joined the band for “Get It,” another original. This tune sort of reminds me of the way that Phish plays “2001,” with its rather simple riff that is made brilliant by the filthy funk in between it’s main phrases. After a rather exploratory second set, they opted to close the show with a cover of Frank Zappa’s “I am the Slime,” whose familiarity proved to be an effective closer and initiated the most fun sing-along of the night.