Dispatches from Last Night's Jimkata Show at Beachland Tavern

Jimkata at Beachland Tavern
  • Jimkata at Beachland Tavern
At times the lights behind the band transformed into some sort of pinwheel thing, gyrating in step with the ascendent jams sprouting outward before them. It was a great sight, and the musicians were locked in with zeal. Jimkata, hailing from Ithaca, N.Y., greeted Cleveland last night with a fine set of older fan favorites and new stuff fresh off Feel In Light.

They rolled out "Electronic Stone" early in the set, which, despite a few lyrical flubs, really shot up the energy in the room. This song is a fine example of the band's keen sense of songwriting: They combine an anthemic chorus with hook-laden verses and flat-out rocking guitar/bass riffs. Throughout it all, Aaron Gorsch kicks eerie bird calls into the atmosphere and cooks up some sort of steel-drum synth beat. It's an incredible tune (listen below).

Jimkata dabbles in that blissed-out, major-key songcraft that tips so many taskets in the jam scene. And they've managed to nail down a tidy equilibrium between synth-based electronic and straight-ahead guitars/bass/drums instrumentation. Guitarist Evan Friedell shines at all times, kicking around either groovy riffs or ascendant leads.

They'll "officially" launch their new EP at a show this weekend with Turkuaz, but they rolled out a couple tunes from Feel In Light here in Cleveland. "Beat the Curse" is a great addition to their catalog; it's got that ululation-as-chorus that calls to mind "Electronic Stone" now and then. Beneath the electro veneer of Jimkata's jams, there's always this sort of tribal quality to everything they write.

The band's sound is *big* — big enough to prompt two observations here: a) these guys should have been playing the Ballroom, which leads to b) more people should be populating these improv-friendly show that roll into town, like, all the time. Seriously, the Beachland is terrific at booking the best of the best in terms of these second- and third-tier jam bands (meant only in the most descriptive sense). It's a too-frequent disappointment to see so few music lovers come out to these gigs.

But it's also a testament to the dedication and talent of bands like Jimkata, et. al., that they'll play to a wavering crowd of two dozen or so with the same vigor that they might apply to a major festival attracting thousands. It's also a firm reminder that, shit almighty, there is some really amazing music coming out of Upstate New York these days.


Give "Electronic Stone" a listen:

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Eric Sandy

Eric Sandy is an award-winning Cleveland-based journalist. For a while, he was the managing editor of Scene. He now contributes jam band features every now and then.
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