Thursday, September 27, 2007

Jamaica Via Vermont- Casual Fiasco review

Jamaica via Vermont- Casual Fiasco review

Jamaica via Vermont
Casual Fiasco, Paradise, April 27, 2007
April 30, 2007 1:13:32 PM

It's a strange state of affairs when white guys in guitar bands start purposely mispronouncing the words of their songs to sound Jamaican. But that's the topsy-turvy world we live in, where reggae jumbles with jam band improvisationality, and, surprisingly, it sometimes works. We saw it before in Sublime and Mad Caddies; now, Casual Fiasco, who played Friday at the Paradise, show they know how to get their pucca shell-wearing audience to really groove.

The band proved their abilities by playing a buffet of cheery, storytelling songs. Three members of the Burlington, VT quartet shared the mic to sing. Lead singer Josh Cleaver possessed the impressive ability of throwing his entire band's laid back deportment into a country western pick-me-up with his self-titled "Cleaver Song." The audience switched from swaying and skanking to swinging their partners and dancing a do-ce-do. This oddity came as a pleasant surprise in a set which included breezy tunes like "Tribe of Believers" and "Down on Sunday" from their 2005 EP Body Over Mind.

The wave of reggae/rock-mania kicked into high gear with Sublime, but the real force behind this style of music comes from the college radio stations, and Casual Fiasco is well circulated in college radio stations around the US. Despite playing within a genre limited to an audience made up of mostly college kids, Casual Fiasco shows true talent.

Indeed, a good reggae/rock band borrows from its forebears. Fittingly, the band closed with Talking Heads's "Psycho Killer." Fragments of rhythm guitar played by the shoeless and moppy-haired James Reilly controlled the song. And lead guitarist Will Read led the cover and quickly stripped the track down to an audience-only chorus of the "Fa-fa-fa's." When the song came to a close, the audience was satisfied to be a part of the act.

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