Next time you happen upon a garden, take a second and look at it. You’ll see different kinds of flowers from tulips to daffodils to daisies and everything in between, all blending together in harmonious fashion despite the different shapes, sizes and color. Gardens are beautiful and comforting, but they do not just spring up on their own. They are planted, maintained and cared for by someone who finds solace in its company and importance in its existence. It takes a lot of work to grow a community of flowers but it is usually well worth it.
Since the first flurries of winter, the founders of Tahoe’s own FNCTN Winter Music Series, Mike Perron, Leslie Schultz and Nick Rogers, have been hard at work cultivating and growing their own community of music lovers. They’ve brought an assortment of bands and DJ’s with thumping bass lines, dizzying horn sections and heavy drops to add fun and color to the weekends on the shores of the Lake Tahoe. The months passed and the community grew as the music reached more and more fans. On Friday night, April 17, Perron, Schultz, and Rogers were able to wipe the dirt from their hands and admire the work they had done as the FNCTN Winter Music Series came to close with a funk bonanza featuring San Francisco’s Nurelix and South Lake Tahoe’s 4 Piece Puzzle.
Walking amongst the fans who had gathered at the Lake Tahoe Golf Course to catch the show, it was hard not to feel a part of a community. There was something for everyone to enjoy. Artisans could appreciate the booths filled with local crafts and oddities that lined the back of the room or the playfully ghoulish paintings by Jake Gillespie. Politicos and activists could take a spin on the Keep Tahoe Blue wheel and keep up to date on the environmental issues facing Lake Tahoe and how to become involved. Social butterflies could mingle with their old and new friends in between sets on the heated deck of the golf course lodge. Everyone could enjoy the $3 drink specials. And, of course, the music was sure to bring a smile across everyone’s faces.
South Shore’s 4 Piece Puzzle took the stage first. The band has been a staple at many South Lake Tahoe shows and tonight proved no different. Ryan “Riff” Cassidy (guitar), Martin Bush (drums), Chad Laurence (bass and keyboards) and Trevor Hall (saxophone) put on a deliciously funky set, appropriately clad in their comical golf outfits. The band has honed their sound to pack meaty jams into nice bite-size portions that you can really sink your teeth into. Their rendition of Rahsaan Roland Kirk’s “Freaks for the Festival” was loose and funky and showed some fine collaboration between Cassidy, Hatch and Laurence. In the spirit of community the band brought out Molly Kathryn of Two Bottle Music for a heated take on The Meters “Fire on the Bayou.” It was another fine set from one of Tahoe’s best.
Next on the docket was Bay Area six-piece Nurelix. It was its first show in Tahoe and the band came out ready to gain some new fans. The band is fronted by the two-man team of percussionist and vocalist Carter Laos and singer Michael Brown. The funk is provided by guitarists Anthony Bush and Sean Griffin, bassist Jessie Strauss and drummer Phil Byers. Nurelix sounded happy to be in Tahoe and laid down grooves that toed the line between backyard-BBQ soul and house party throwdown. In between funky original songs the band played a handful of covers, including a version of Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” with Laos playing the role of Pharrell Williams.
The concert was solid in and of itself, but when one takes a step back and looks at all the blood, sweat and laughs that were needed to bring the FNCTN Winter Music Series to life, it was a momentous achievement. Hopefully with some tender loving care and maybe a little bit of weeding, the FNCTN garden will continue to grow in the Lake Tahoe Basin.