The jamtronica scene in Philadelphia, PA has been fiery for many years, starting with heavy hitters like the Disco Biscuits and Lotus. There is a new band from the City of Brotherly Love who is expanding the jam rock meets trance fusion EDM offerings, and has already built a lively fan base: Solar Circuit. This quartet has well developed, feel good dance songs coupled with mesmerizing textures and raging guitar riffs. They continue to hone their talent by gigging across the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic, and hosting their own festival-like shows in conjunction with their fans. This was especially true for their two set performance at the Sherman Showcase, in Stroudsberg, PA, on March 4, 2023. Lehigh Valley's Richard provided support for this dance marathon.
Solar Circuit's line up included Becca LeVan (keys/synth/vocals), Taylor Jamison (bass), Nick Orlove (guitar) and Rob Fray (drums). At the show, Jamison and Orlove, along with a large part of the crowd, donned "I'm with Bob" t-shirts. By the end of the show, Bob had emerged from the crowd as the host of Solar Circuit's late night private ragers in Pennsylvania, and was wearing the same shirt, of course. This congenial and welcoming group of friends rounded out an unexpectedly pleasant vibrant experience of hospitality and love.
The evening began with Richard, an improvisational groove quartet from Bethlehem, PA. The band members contained guitarist Kyle Gishel, keyboardist Devin Marshall, drummer Alex Shambo and bassist Neil Underwood. Their set encompassed melodic dance beats, layered textures and deep, extended jams, as they played almost without stopping.
Solar Circuit took the stage next with a fired up crowd. Before playing, Orlove recognized Bob and the gang by pointing to the shirt that they were all collectively wearing. The set began with the funky "Loophole," which transitioned into "Skyward," followed by "17 Year Cicada." This sequence showed Orlove falling into the pocket early, and was complimented by Jamison's thumpy bass lines. Fray was on another planet during "Skyward." LeVan elevated the spacey jam during "17 Year Cicada" on the synth with her delicious undertones.
The set closed out with another non-stop trance filled sequence, starting with "Stir Crazy." This song was bass driven, and catapulted the dance party into the stratosphere. The dirty jams rolled on as the band segued into "Fire For You," by the Cannons. This first time played tune had the crowd inspired and yelling for more. Another seamless transition lead into the final song of the set: "Puddle Jumper."
After a quick break, the band returned for more heat, starting with "Pryzm." This drove into the well known Phil Collins tune, "In the Air," sung by the talented LeVan. It is worth noting that most bands under the jamtronica umbrella struggle with vocals and often prefer instrumentals. This is not the case for Solar Circuit, as LeVan elevated this tune and others with her incredible voice. The band maintained intensity as they moved into "Upward Spiral," followed by "Snapshot."
Negotiations on stage followed, as the band decided where to go next. "Through the Fog" was the agreed upon direction, and LeVan unfurled more synth goodness. Fray continued to show his machine-like qualities on the drums. The band flowed into the upbeat "Moonroof," which included some tasty tension and release. The set wrapped up on a very high note with the ending of "Mirage."
Solar Circuit is back in action this week at the Tally Ho Theater in Leesburg, Va on March 17th and the Dogtown Roadhouse on March 18th in Floyd, Va. Head on over to their tour page for more details about the rest of their spring tour.
Check out more photos of Solar Circuit and Richard from the show!
Set: RadioFace, Disco Cowboy, Doggy
Set One: Loophole > Skyward > 17 Year Cicada, Stir Crazy > Fire For You% > Puddle Jumper
Set Two: Pryzm^ > In the Air+ > Upward Spiral > Snapshot, Through the Fog^ > Moonroof > Mirage*
Notes: %Cannons (first time played), ^unfinished, +Phil Collins, *ending only