Local band of the week: All Good Feel Good Collective
It's hard to find a band that you can stand to watch 10 nights in a row and still be blown away every night for a different reason. It's not impossible to fathom this after you've experienced the combination of jazz, ska, 2 Tone, rocksteady, roots reggae, soul, dubstep, and funk in one of the most exciting contemporary bands in New England.
Consisting of mostly music majors, All Good Feel Good Collective has gone from playing small, student-run concerts like UNH's May Day Festival and SolarFest to playing at some of New England's most famous venues, such as the Paradise Rock Club and Toad's Place. They've also played with well-known bands like The Slackers, The Toasters and Roots of Creation.
The group wasn't always the great live act they've built themselves up to be. When asked what their first shows were like, singer/guitarist Nate Ashton responded, "I have a tuner now."
All Good started as a UNH band in 2011. The band's early practice sessions were at the Paul Creative Arts Center, and they even held a few of their first gigs there.
"At the time All Good was just jams and cover songs," Nick Murray, the trumpeter and other vocalist said. "We spent more time promoting NORML at UNH."
The band's music is like a gumbo in which each member brought their own stylistic ingredient to the pot and created a smooth sound that's loaded with fusion.
"We met all the right people and traded things, ideas, music," Murray said. "Nate brought roots reggae, I brought ska and punk. We're all really open to the styles that everyone brought to the table."
The band soon began to play songs at a house in Dover where some of the band members lived. They spent the summer of 2011 on a relentless writing spree and eventually recorded their first EP in the fall for almost nothing in cost.
"We just like doing things ourselves. All the producing and recording, we're the only ones who know what we should sound like," Ashton said. "Plus, we were on college kids' income."
Their first full-length album, Don't Shoot The Messenger, was released in August 2012. Each song has its own personality, showcasing the broad musical spectrum of the band. The album kicks off with the jazz-fusion jam "Zion Where We Be," transitioning into a sunny eponymous track, followed by "Way Of the Sword," which was their reggae experiment. What really separates this band from all the others is their secret weapon: a full and traditional sound.
"It's nice to have a full reggae rhythm section," Ashton said. "You just have to love the style. You can always tell the best reggae musicians because you see they love the style."
All Good's live shows spark energy in the audience, which is unheard of with so many other laid-back bands. Any person who has seen the band before knows that it's hard not to dance to Nick Minicucci's groovy bass lines or the tight percussion work of Alex Brander and Tyler Havrilko (known simply as "DoeBoy").
"Recently, we've been seeing a lot more regulars at our shows," Murray said. "It's a really exciting thing when people like the music you play."
Their shows have a synchronicity that forces the audience to wonder if they're really human. It doesn't matter if they're jamming or speeding through a short ska number, the band's improvisation is flawless. With everyone in the band having a chance to improvise, you'll get a chance to hear how great these UNH graduates are.
"We just want to keep playing a bigger and better show," Ashton said. "We want to try to play with as many ska/reggae legends as possible. Before they all quit, anyways."
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