Rye describes their Back Porch Sessions as “a free summer concert series intending to expose local artists and create a place for the community to gather around food and music.” With Hi-Five Doughnuts on hand, egg tacos on the menu, and stellar bartenders keeping the crowd hydrated, the description was on point Thursday night. Last week marked the 2015 start of the restaurant’s fourth annual Back Porch Sessions. Although it was a chillier than average May evening, the line-up kept everyone on their feet and moving around.
New Albany’s Dream Eye Color Wheel opened up the evening with their instrumental soundscapes. Bitchin Bajas began playing shortly after we arrived. It didn’t matter that they were playing with their own amps, off the stage, instruments propped up by upside-down orange buckets – the group drew in the crowd, attracting nearly everyone by the end to their corner set. It wasn’t so much about the individual instruments for Bitchin Bajas’ performance as it was about the medley of sounds. I may not personally be musically inclined, but it seems to me that this is different from a lot of bands we’ve seen. When there’s a stand-out instrument like a saxophone, that’s usually a huge highlight, but for these guys it was just another element blending in with their overall sound. Coming to this event, I didn’t know much about the Chicago-based band but their complexity has me intrigued. We couldn’t stay long for Old Baby (since when is it 40 degrees in May?!) but I’m sure the set was an excellent way to end the night at Rye.
Following the night’s outdoor festivities, we headed over to Zanzabar for The Shadowboxers‘ catchy pop performance. The group joined Laura Shine that afternoon for a live version of the “5-O’Clock Shadow” segment, which is possibly the first time WFPK has organized this special live rendition. The Atlanta band, fronted by three very attractive guys, was another wonderful surprise for our Thursday evening. Their synchronized sound and dance moves had the floor of Zbar literally shaking. With the impeccable vocals and keyboarding from Matt Lipkins, I wouldn’t be surprised if we continue to see great things from The Shadowboxers.