Stripped down, amped up: The Get Right Band launches its EP, Shake

The view from here: The Get Right Band’s members have decades of friendship and more genres than they can count informing their sound. With new EP, Shake, they’ve polished their party vibe.

who: The Get Right Band with Asian Teacher Factory and The Archrivals
where: Asheville Music Hall
when: Friday, Feb. 22 (9:30 p.m. $8 in advance or $10 day of show, includes a copy of the EP. http://ashevillemusichall.com)

It’s a good thing for a band to test-drive new material on a receptive crowd, in order to work out the kinks before a tour/album release/imminent world domination. If you’re The Get Right Band, you take said test drive over the course of 11 days in the pubs, clubs and beach bars of the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The Get Right Band is the local funk-rock trio of singer-songwriter/guitarist Silas Durocher, bassist/vocalist Jesse Gentry and percussionist/vocalist Chris Pyle. The group formed out of roots-reggae outfit Soulgrass Rebellion. That Oso Rey-led group disbanded when Rey decided to tour less. The rest of the players — Durocher, Gentry and Pyle — wanted to tour more. They formed the Get Right Band “as a way to keep saying yes to opportunities” that were still coming in for the defunct Soulgrass.

“It took us a good six months or so to reformat our identity outside of Soulgrass,” says Durocher. “[The Get Right Band] had a show last winter at The Lab. For whatever reason, everything clicked that night. It was a much more rock ‘n’ roll and funk sound.”

In a way, the Get Right Band was forming long before its members dreamed up a name for their trio. Durocher and Gentry grew up together in Maryland. “Every band I was in through high school was with him — pop-punk, jam-bands, funk bands and all kinds of stuff,” says Durocher. Gentry had been living in the Virgin Islands when Soulgrass needed a bass player, so Durocher reached out to his childhood friend. Gentry made the move to Asheville.

In some ways, Durocher and Gentry have come a long way from their Maryland pop-punk days. Shake, the Get Right Band’s just-completed EP, contains all of the rock and funk elements that Durocher described in the band’s sound. But (and this might be surprising), the five tracks are as stripped down and spare as they are amped up.

“Part of it is coming from our big influences right now,” says Durocher, listing The Black Keys, Jack White and Alabama Shakes. “In the studio, they might take these simple songs and layer them in a way that is really effective and relatable.”

“Voodoo Doll” is a dark and twitchy stomp, “Compliments” struts along heavy bass beats and slinky percussion. “Chromaticize” begins with the lyric, “When I walk into the party, everybody knows my name.” It’s equal part insouciance and groove with rock melodies built on funk attitudes.

“We do jam pretty extensively, live, but for a five-song EP we felt like there wasn’t necessarily a place for that on the album,” says Durocher. He points out that what might be a four-minute song on the album can be extended to an eight-minute song in the live show.

One challenge for the Get Right Band was selecting five songs for Shake (that title possibly a shortened version of the band’s “ass-shaking good time” slogan) out of a much more extensive pool of material. “I feel like we picked the songs for the whole vibe,” says Gentry. “[There’s] not really a story. But as you listen, from beginning to end, there are certain things that come in and out.”

A final element to the Get Right Band’s sound, aesthetic and journey makes itself known on the EP’s final track, “Touch the Holy.” That song is a laid back reggae number. It shimmies and lilts, all bright water and soft breezes. Durocher says it was written about being in the Virgin Islands — a place the band tours annually.

“On the road, the majority of what we listen to is reggae, and we’re really into dub,” the songwriter says. Some gigs allow for the band to plumb that influence. Other times they stick to their rock catalog. Durocher and Gentry say they no longer make set lists, they just play to the mood of the audience.

But the Get Right Band’s EP release party this week should also lend itself to opportunities to jam with the likes of Asian Teacher Factory and The Archrivals (both groups share the stage). “It seemed like it would be a cool night,” says Durocher. That might be an understatement — the show is being billed as nothing short of a “dance party of epic proportions.”

Alli Marshall can be reached at amarshall@mountainx.com.

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About Alli Marshall
Alli Marshall is the arts writer and editor at Mountain Xpress. She's lived in Asheville for more than 20 years and loves live music, visual art, fiction and friendly dogs.

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