At 10 p.m., The Stage was pretty empty. Maybe 30 people milled about chatting, smoking and drinking as the speakers played ambient dance music. The stage was a twist of cables and wires and fancy electronic doodads hooked up to a bunch of synthesizers. Something interesting was about to happen.
Little by little, the patrons trickled in, paying the $12 entry fee. Many of them knew very well what they were getting into, but a good number of them didn’t seem to.
When Aquaphonics took the stage, there were a good number of folks there, but it was a strange mix of ragers and regular patrons who have made The Stage a regular hangout spot. The younger kids, many clad in Phish or Allman Brothers t-shirts took the dance floor as the older crowd looked on interested but bewildered.
Aquaphonics put on a show drenched in instrumental jam sections and effected guitars and keys. The trio, sans a bassist, still managed to create a full sound that blanketed the venue with spacey jamtronica.
Midway through the set, Aquaphonics was joined by Jim Wuest of The Heavy Pets on keys and synths. The tune they played, “In Dew,” floated us into black, empty space with snaking tendrils of plasma pulsing on and off with their orange and bluish incandescent glow. Then the backbeat comes in and all of a sudden there is ground on which to dance.
Killer keys work by Wuest on that tune, and when he stepped off the stage Aquaphonics kept upping the ante with more keyboard and guitar magic for a quickly growing crowd of ragers.
By the time Aquaphonics wrapped up their set, the venue was packed. They closed with “Waiting For It,” a party of a song that nudged the crowd into a dancing fervor.
The Heavy Pets took the stage at 12:30 a.m. They went right for the meat of the music and the choking crush of people before the stage sunk their teeth right in. Crossing genres on a whim and slinging solos and licks like Eastwood in the old West, The Heavy Pets took their audience and lifted them up with a two-hour set that included tunes like “How Would I,” “Travel,” and “Girl You Make Me Stupid.”
The crowd started to thin around 2 a.m., but the all-nighters were still raging strong.
The Heavy Pets continued until past 2:30 a.m., almost to 3 a.m., before wrapping up their encore with “Chevrolet.”
It was phenomenal night at the Stage, courtesy of Aquaphonics, The Heavy Pets, Brotherly Love Productions and Def Owl. I know I’m not the only one who can’t wait to do it again.