Material: The Main Squeeze is a mishmash of funk, soul and blues that nods to sounds of the ‘70s, particularly the likes of Janis Joplin, The Doors and Santana. The funk jam vibe is redolent as one of their songs is so nearly a twin to Jamiroquai’s “Alright” it is uncanny. The real strength of this group is its charismatic lead singer and the formula they have cooked up to blend guitar with keys to squeal into an ecstatic crescendo that gets the audience cheering along at that same fevered pitch.
Musicianship: The keyboard takes the focal point due to volume levels, an issue which could easily be addressed. Although Frye has a powerful voice, he cannot compete with those levels, so the group should work on bringing those down for the verses. While a lot of bands trend on over-stopping songs, this group keeps the energy up. Several songs incorporate unique time signature and key changes. Gingrich and Walker stay locked in so the songs never feel too loose. Overall the group mixes up their transition styles, which keeps it interesting. Newman steals the show with instrumental riffs reminiscent of both The Allman Brothers and Jimi Hendrix, while Walker incorporates some cool counterpoint.
Performance: Frye is a dynamic performer who not only sings between songs to keep the energy going, but also encourages both hand clapping and a synchronized dance party. He is joined on stage by his guest vocalist Zel for a cover of Justin Timberlake’s “Senorita.” This is used as an opportunity to get both the ladies and the fellas singing in the audience during the song’s call-out section. In order to maximize that audience interaction, the band could have come down on their volume outputs in order to bring the audience singing to the forefront. Frye and Zel also could have played off of each other a bit more theatrically rather than just singing out into the audience.
Summary: Despite being both a funky and a jammy band there is really something missing here––room for bass solos as well as
instrumental rounds within an individual song. Some of the songs in the set feel undercooked in that they are verse-heavy and centralized around a hook. While it mostly works, this framework could be amended to include bridges and space for instrumental sections.
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The Players: Max Newman, lead guitar; Rob Walker, bass; Ben "Smiley" Silverstein, keyboard; Reuben Gingrich, drums; Corey Frye, vocalist; Zel, guest vocalist.