Living in Colorado, the chance of an epic snowfall during the winter can be pretty good. One such weather occurrence happened in late 2006 when three straight weekends of blizzards hit Denver and the surrounding Front Range. The city essentially shut down those days, and holiday travels were next to impossible. In the midst of those storms a highly anticipated two-night run of the Stephen Perkins-led project Banyan was cancelled. As fate might have it, out of the darkness came light as a new improv group called PRAANG was born.
The only member of Banyan who made the trip was guitar virtuoso Steve Kimock. Rather than cancel the evening all together, organizers at Cervantes Ballroom scrambled to fill the void and local musicians Michael Travis, Jason Hann, and Jamie Janover answered the call. Travis and Haan (String Cheese Incident) were in the midst of creating their side project EOTO, and Janover had already spent countless nights performing improvisational music with his group Zilla (also with Travis), so some sort of comfort level was already present. All three likely jumped at the chance to play with Kimock, and the results were stunning.
Nearly two years to the date, the group reformed this weekend to perform once again at Cervantes Ballroom in Denver. This time the weather was mild and fans would not have to worry about any cancellations or changes. The only question was could this show be any hotter than the last time these guys played together?
The answer became quite clear afterwards....yes!
Folks packed the venue this evening and you could tell the anticipation was high. A mixed group of Cheeseheads and dance fans sipped on drinks and mingled prior to show time. Shortly after 10:30 the four musicians took the stage and began to hammer out what would be another amazing night of improvisational rock, jazz, and electronica.
Things did seem to start off a bit slowly as Kimock was playing in another universe, far from the rest of the band. His spacey, jazzy guitar notes did not mesh well with the solid beats laid down by the other three. However, after about twenty-five minutes of exploration Kimock came back down to Earth (or whatever planet these guys were jamming on) and the group began to gel.
With no real song structures or vocal sections, cohesion is essential to their sound. And by the end of the first set, the boys weaved a fine mesh of very upbeat music. Kimock moved from jazz guitar to heavy rock riffs, Travis fingered over his bass and key loops, while Hann and Janover kept the beat with percussive mastery.
Following the standard set break, the quartet returned with almost three more hours of music. There were no glitches this time around, and PRAANG wowed fans until 3:00 in the morning. They seemed to be feeding off the energy put forth by the crowd, as well as their fellow musicians.
It was another impressive night of music to say the least. Currently the group has no further gigs planned for the future, but judging by the overall response one can assume this project will emerge once again. As with all things in life, this jam group is living proof that in all bad circumstances, there is usually a silver lining.