At the end of September, with the changing leaves and cool breeze, the solid improv experience that is Eggy brought its colorful array to warm the hearts of Colorado to close out the month with back-to-back shows. Hitting up The Aggie Theatre for night one in Fort Collins followed by a stop at Cervantes in Denver, this quartet channeled their positivity in both word and wobble to crowds consisting of both first-timers and repeat customers, all of whom were treated to this up-and-coming band’s twist on the experiential jam.
With a capacity of 600, the Aggie Theatre show was noticeably undersold, but this dynamic didn’t stop the band from throwing down as if they were in front of a house twice as big and filled to the gills. Stepping out onto the stage, those who turned out gave over a warm welcome, letting the band know they were in for good times and had no intent of leaving.
Drummer Alex Bailey smiled and reached for the mic, initiating the evening with a little call and response with the audience, “Eggy, Aggie, Eggy, Aggie, Oye Oye Oye”. Changing up round two, Bailey called out the band/venue portion, “Aggie, Eggy, Aggie, Eggy”, leaving the audience to answer, “Oye Oye Oye”. With everyone on cue for their part, one last pass was made, “Aggie, Aggie, Aggie, Aggie, Oye Oye Oye”, leaving both the intimate crowd and band laughing, before Bailey grinned and asked, “How does that go again?”. With many still giggling, the band got things underway with the lighthearted “Upside Down”. With a String Cheese meets Hornsby dynamic, king of the keys Dani Battat maneuvered between the piano sound and organ fills with ease, often having his hands on different rigs simultaneously.
The limber guitar work of Jake Brownstein showed early on that the evening was going to take flight. Anchoring the low end, bassist Mike Goodman filled all the gaps well and from song one, the band came off tight, intent, and seriously fun. When the first track closed out at over nine minutes, everyone in the room was fully engaged and strapped in for the ride.
Taking the lead on vocals once again, Bailey led the room through “Apology” next, handling the lyrics well while keeping everyone on time, a feat that deserves recognition in and of itself. The rest of the band harmonized on this lighter piece making the delivery shine with refinement and skill. Brownstein completed a steady climb at the end that ended in some great fireworks.
Putting on a more prog rock dynamic for the third choice, the band bounced through the angular “Solid Ground”. Equipped with odd time signatures, multiple changes, and script for days, the band moved as one unit with ease. The end portion got a little more dancey and Battat went from organ into synth antics, giving the close of the piece an eighties feel. Brownstein matched Battat’s instrumentation with a myriad of effects and the final minutes of the tune just popped.
Battat led the band through the next selection “Farthest Step”. This one coming in at nearly ten minutes showcased the power of the singer's voice. The accentuated dynamics of the structure balanced nicely against some of the softer points. The six-minute midsection eventually built into a dizzying exchange between all the players before it broke free and returned to the familiar, leaving everyone laughing, spinning, and grinning. Without a pause, the band moved into another original with “Way of the Stone”. This softer piece laid against its predecessor showed the band's varied ability to push and pull the music along.
The first cover of the night bloomed in Paul McCartney’s 1980 hit “Coming Up”. Played for only the third time ever, this one vibed with its era of origin and it was obvious to see how much fun the band had with it, working in some great ebb and flow on the pop piece.
Closing out the set, Eggy gave the room that continued to fill a real treat in a nearly twenty-minute version of “Lost and Found”. This jaunty number had everyone dancing and paying attention. Containing both anthemic rock flavor and sweet lilting space, this one sparkled and quaked, the band moving in between simplicity and complexity with ease. At eleven minutes, the voice of the group eked into Plinko territory, getting good and weird, before the eventual return to the bounce and joy.
Returning to the stage for the second set, the band kept the double-digit selections coming with a seventeen-minute version of “Hux”. Like so much of the music from the first set, this one shone with diversity and skill, channeling straight rock to funk to tattered spaciness, all the while coming off cohesive and tight. The band even threw in some teases of Rush’s “Tom Sawyer” to the excitement of the crowd. The opener segued into “Last of Kin” getting everyone up on the good foot with quite a bit of the funk. Between the second set opener and its counterpart, The Aggie was treated to nearly half an hour of great interplay, these gentlemen having the time of their lives playing to an appreciative audience.
Emily King’s “Remind Me” took the third spot and its uplifting hook fit perfectly into the range of Eggy. Generating smiles and a glow from the inside out, for both the band and the listener, this one not only lifted the spirit but got the treatment as well, timing out at nearly twenty minutes. Transitioning from its modern dynamic into synthland, this one oozed before moving into a danceable groove that had Goodman popping the bass lines and getting with it, Battat throwing in a great organ solo that fueled the dance inferno. Bailey even got a nearly three-minute drum solo that just had the room cheering him on with every sinful syncopation. By the end of the auditory spectacle, there was no semblance of “Remind Me” left.
The room smiling and reveling, the band kept the great evening going by shifting right into their funky original “Ricky Gervais”. Goodman took an extended solo in the spotlight, showing off all he has to offer, the band and audience cheering him on as he pulled line after line, making it all look so effortless. From the major to the minors, he floated in the stream of his consciousness, smiling with deliverance. Goodman’s exercise terminated into a vocal jam that just kept the party going and with a big finish, everyone found a new respect for the man known as “Ricky Gervais”.
Providing a moment for everyone to catch their breath, the sweet reprieve of “Island Afterlife” afforded everyone the chance to see yet another side of the band. With emotional lyrics and embracing Leslie washes, this one showed the soul side of the group.
To close out the set, a twenty-minute version of “Portable Air Scrubber” took everyone over the top with its swagger and attitude. Seven minutes in, the room went from firm footing to cosmic delight, Brownstein getting with all matter of effects, crouched at the floor, twisting knobs and tilting pedals, and when he had set the palette of his delight, he turned his focus to Battat and locked eyes with the cosmonaut behind the keys. From there the two ensued in a chase sequence that drew each further and further in, Brownstein stepping closer and closer to the synth rack until he and Battat were inches apart, commanding out a note on top of note, Eggy-ing each other on, pushing the meter of delight past the red as everyone in the room watched the exchange with unadulterated joy.
For the encore, the band chose “The Middle” by Jimmy Eat World and stretched it out to the ten-minute mark, adding some King Gizzard “Interior People” teases. By the end, everyone who had showed up remained and when it was all over, it was easy to see on the faces of those walking out that all had been blown away and exhausted by the creativity of the Eggy effect.
For those new to the band, many left happily converted to yet another avenue to stroll when seeking out the talents of Jamland. From improv to composition, this group is a band of serious players who push themselves and each other to their best. Following the show, the members were just as enthusiastic off stage as they were playing, engaging with fans, signing autographs, and having lengthy conversations, the whole time smiling and reciprocating the gratitude that they had received throughout the night. For this listener, I will certainly be back for more and look forward to all these gentlemen will bring in the future.