Boombasnap stages an evolution
HYANNIS — When the members of Cape-based band Boombasnap are asked about what artists they cover, they all fall silent.
They don’t know where to start. They finally offer a range of Snoop Dogg to Steely Dan.
When and where: 5:30 p.m. today at Harbor Music Festival, band shell on Scranton Avenue, Falmouth; 9:30 tonight at Franky D’s, 164 Summer St., Kingston; 9:30 p.m. Tuesday at Rum Runners Bar & Grill, 243 Lower County Road, Dennisport; 9:30 p.m. Thursday at the Island Merchant, 302 Main St., Hyannis; 9:30 p.m. Aug. 27 at the Woodshed, 1993 Main St., Brewster
“Our sound is evolving every day,” says horn player and vocalist Aaron Dupont.
The band describes its sound as “jazz-infused funky rock with a twist of hip-hop”; at one performance, it covered Paul Simon, Bob Marley and jazz-rap group Us3. With Dennis Christiano on guitar and vocals; John Redden on drums and vocals; Cory Schechtman on keyboards, sax and vocals; and Brian Sances on bass and vocals, their instrumental range lets them try out all music genres, say the band members. They estimate each performance to be made up of half original material and half covers.
The name Boombasnap was thought up in December 2009, then there were a few shake-ups in membership until the current lineup fell into place. The band says it’s now found the best combination of members.
“The reason we’d handpicked the perfect group of people … we have a very similar idea of what we want the outcome to be,” says Christiano of the band.
All five played together publicly for the first time at the Island Merchant in Hyannis, and Dupont says that went better than they expected. Redden says something just clicked.
“It got a great crowd reaction,” he says of the performance.
When they all started playing, Schechtman focused on the saxophone, and Christiano suggested that he also try playing keyboards. Schechtman picked it up amazingly quickly, Christiano says.
“You can’t just tell an average guy, ‘Pick up the keyboards,’” he says. “It would take 10 years to get where this kid is at.”
The band plays weekly year-round at the Island Merchant — “this is our clubhouse,” manager Dennis Sullivan says of the restaurant — as well as at other local venues. During the summer, the band has played at various Cape venues at least four times a week. Christiano says getting to perform so often is great, but it’s often tough to practice new songs with such a demanding show schedule.
“It’s a little frustrating that we don’t have enough time to bring as much new material as we want to,” he says.
But Redden says playing so often on the Cape also means that more and more residents are finding out about the band.
“Every week, there’s new faces here,” he says of performing at the Island Merchant. “It seems like the word’s still spreading.”
Since it plays so often, the band tries to keep the material fresh. Tempo changes will happen from night to night, and sometimes even lyrics will be changed depending on current events or if members just want to give a shout-out to somebody.
“You don’t want to be around these guys on your birthday,” Sullivan says, laughing.
One of their favorite parts of the summer so far, say band members, was playing at Super Ball IX, a music festival in Watkins Glen, N.Y., hosted by Phish in July. The band left its previous show at 2 a.m. and drove to New York, arriving as the sun came up.
The Boombasnap guys wanted to play at the festival, but only acoustic instruments were allowed. Wanting to play “plugged,” they had to sneak in a generator in a separate car. But the guerrilla performance style was worth it, they say — after they played, they handed out what they estimated were 100 pre-copies of their EP.
Confusion arose, Sullivan says, when they posted on their website that they played in Hawaii, which was the name of their section of the Watkins Glen campsite.
“‘Where are your tans?’” Sullivan remembers people asking.
Another highlight, Redden says, was playing with members of Stephen Marley’s band in July after Marley performed at Cape Cod Melody Tent. Sullivan waited outside the band’s tour bus and convinced bass player Chris Meredith and drummer Squidly Cole to come over and perform at House of Bud’s in Hyannis.
Redden says it was an honor just to play with them.
“They’re world-renowned,” he says. “They’re reggae legends.”
Sullivan says the up-close-and-personal aspect of the Melody Tent and the Cape itself was part of what made the collaboration with Meredith and Cole possible.
“I’ve tried that in New York, and you can’t get anywhere near them,” he says.
The band has performance dates booked through the fall and winter, and its EP is due to be released on its own label within the next couple of weeks. The band recorded the EP over three months in a home studio and needed a call-and-response for one song, so it packed fans, friends and family members into a small room for the track.
It feels like things just keep accelerating for the band, Christiano says.
“The past month and a half has been an exposure bomb,” he says.
At the Super Ball IX event, Boombasnap received several offers to play at festivals in New York. Nothing is written in stone, the band members say, but while they say they love playing for their Cape Cod fan base, they also want to perform in other areas.
“We definitely want to move up and out,” says Christiano.