The Nth Power | Grand Rapids, MI | Review

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Submitted by Joshua Huver on Tue, 10/13/2015 - 5:19 pm

When it comes to a modern approach to funk-laden soul music, some groups are able to exponentially build energy groove after groove.

In the case of one particular super-group whose roster plays like a who’s who of world class talent, The Nth Power is more than a moniker.

Consisting of drummer/vocalist Nikki Glaspie (Dumpstaphunk, Beyonce), bassist Nate Edgar (John Brown’s Body), guitarist/vocalist Nick Cassarino (Jennifer Hartwick Band, Big Daddy Kane), percussionist Weedie Braimah (Toubab Krewe, Kreative Pandemonium) and keyboardist Jay-Mel Smith, a former St. Louis church organist and choir director, The Nth Power literally houses a world wide selection of available sounds.

They’re on tour right now through December 12 supporting jam-scene favorite Dopapod and in support of their debut album Relapse, out November 13, 2015.

Before they started the tour with Dopapod, however, Grand Rapids, MI was treated to an intimate headlining performance of The Nth Power at The Stache inside The Intersection.

Supporting The Nth Power were local and regional acts Big Sherb and Pleasant Drive, respectively.

Kalamazoo, MI based prog-rock groove machine Pleasant Drive started the night off strong with a four song, 45 minute set. The opening song featured a playful bass line and quickly transformed into a danceable riff on which the band continued to build up and up and drop right back into. Another song featured technically progressive guitar chops with psychedelically melodic bass and drum in all the right places.

Pleasant drive plays with the ferocity of a boss level from an 80s arcade, a more abrasive version of Umphrey’s McGee and without the subtly allowed from six musicians.

Local Grand Rapids transplant from Mt. Pleasant, MI, Big Sherb picked up right where Pleasant Drive left off with another four song, 45 minute set. Pleasant Drive is quickly making a name for themselves locally, and for good reason.

The first song opened with a rapid-fire 16th note guitar riff accentuated with a smooth weather-channel saxophone before climaxing into a light hearted jam that reintroduced each instrument to the song, then climaxed again. A growing fan favorite, the song “You Should Know Better” features wrenching lyrics that are universally appealing and in this particular performance, a very exploratory jam section.

Bouncing between Super Mario sounds and their peanut butter smooth jazz foundation, Big Sherb has tapped into something special. With any luck, they will be expanding their show radius.

Both openers featured a good caricature of the vibe and feel of what The Nth Power aims for and achieves with ease, but nothing is as good as the real thing, so once Big Sherb exited, the excitement for The Nth Power continued to grow.

Watching the interplay of the band on stage is enough to know that not only are these indiviual professionals and borderline virtuosos at their respective instrument, but incredibly palpable still is the way they play with a frenzy of positivity and love in every note.

Between Glaspie’s incredibly sense of timing and nuance on the kit and 111th generation Ghana percussion Braimah (whose name litteraly means ‘little drummer’ in his heritgae’s Akan dialect, there is an unbreakable sway of sound that are the literally building blocks of a grounded groove that the rest of the band is free to play upon.

Frontman Nick Cassarino’s powerfully soul and R&B laden lead vocals are captivating, and between his guitar work and the wildly textured nuances of Edgar’s bass and Smith’s keywork, there is literally no style that can’t be integrated into The Nth Power’s repertoire.

Drawing from the heart of the music, The Nth Power touched on styles as wide ranged and vibrant as John Mayer, Toto, Nahko Bear, or Hootie and The Blowfish without missing a beat.

Taking advantage of the headlining position and as a warm up for their current tour with Dopapod, The Nth Power treated the Grand Rapids crowd to a double set feature that left the crowd physically drained and spiritually saturated. There is no question they are blowing up in popularity and fast.

With multiples dates approaching in Colorado and Texas before darting around the Southeastern US, including the album release show on November 13 at the Higher Ground in Burlington, VT, there are plenty of opportunities to catch The Nth Power play a single set opener for Dopapod through December 12th.

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