Concert review: Perpetual Groove at Crowbar (video!)

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What the first set lacked in melody, intricacy and improvisation, however, was almost made up for in the second set.

On this night, the band didn’t execute these three key elements with enough intensity to create the sort of truly transcendent sets that great improvisational music possess. Too often, the rest of the band members looked for cues from very talented guitarist Brock Butler instead of allowing another instrument -- or the band itself -- to push the jam. Newish keyboardist John Hruby waited almost the entire show before taking a serious lead.

But don’t get me wrong -- despite these short comings, it was still a really good time, although, something else was missing. If I’m going to pay north of $15 to see a borderline second-tier jamband, then I at least expect some kind of visuals. Admittedly, there were a few lights fading in and out -- but only a few. The band is known for infusing their sets with vibrant memorable light shows, but perhaps they left the rig back in Athens. Or more likely, they had logistics issues with the low ceilings of Crowbar.

At the show's peak, there were upwards of 300 in attendance, but more than half had bailed before PGroove re-took the stage around 2 a.m. for the predictable cover-song-encore, Fatboy Slim’s 1998 hit “Praise You.”

It’s been many weeks since I’ve made it out to a show in Tampa. I blame travels, nonspecific busyness and a lack of excitable summer concerts in the Tampa Bay area. It took Georgia’s Perpetual Groove (pictured, photo by Phil Bardi) — a band I've always somehow managed to miss even though they play the area frequently — to get me out of the house.

By the time the four-piece (drums, bass, guitar, synth/keys) took the stage just after 10 pm on Friday, July 10, a few hundred of Tampa’s finest heady brahs and chicks in sundresses crowded Ybor’s Crowbar Friday night. PGroove’s first set held true to their name — flowing from one disco rock groove to the next. It worked for most of the set, but I grew bored, craving more interplay, energy and stronger melodies.

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