A&E » Arts

Having a Psychadelic Ball


Drummer Alan Herz and Friends making musical magic at the Boot Pub

What: Psychedelic Ball

Where: Boot Pub

When: Oct. 26

It’s the perfect choice of band for a night called the Psychedelic Ball. The sound of Alan Hertz and Friends wanders all over the musical landscape and is described as ‘a careening wash of colorful sonic textures, and spot-on, slippery yet virulent grooves.’

"Our music definitely has a groove element and a jazz element but it also has a freer element. We’re not locked down in structure and we can improvise," says Hertz.

"If we play the same song over and over because people like the melody or it has some nice words, you’ve got to play it differently every time. Give respect to the composition and how it sounds, but try and break free from the common cliches."

Alan Hertz, who also drums for Garaj Mahal and was part of the now defunct KVHW says he likes the format Alan Hertz and Friends provides because he has a lot of musician friends and this gives him the opportunity to work with any and all of them.

It’s that ability to improvise, combined with the depth of knowledge each musician brings to that stage, that enables Alan Hertz and Friends to create the rich kaleidoscope of sounds they are renowned for.

"The benefits of playing with a revolving circle is it forms a community feeling where nobody is tied down musically and everyone can branch out into new sounds." Says Hertz, "You speak a common language when you have a group of musicians that all know the songs well, they know all my music and I know their tunes."

The group plays a combination of original songs and covers, but regardless of the tune, they promise a danceable groove. "We have a kind of ambient, atmospheric, dance-groove-thing going on, kind of like free dance," says Hertz. "Our music is ambient. It’s not like a soloing based art form, it’s like how big can we make some grooves.’

Hertz has a well-deserved reputation as a powerhouse drummer. His introduction to music came through his father, a jazz musician, and Hertz started learning percussion at the age of five.

"The thing about jazz music as I experienced it growing up is that it used to have dancing involved. Then it got more into sushi and wine and big ticket charges and two drink minimums," says Hertz. "Jazz used to be such a community and that’s what I like about this. I like dance music because it’s always been a part of music and our music is a way to bring jazz and dance back together."

The line-up for this show includes bassist Liam Hanrahan and keyboard player Eric Levy of Garaj Mahal, along with guitarist Eric McFadden of P*Funki. Herz, of course, will play the drums.

People are encouraged to come in full Halloween costume for the Psychedelic Ball. First prize for best costume is a yearlong spot on the guest list for all Upstream Entertainment shows. Tickets are $15.