Andy Frasco is bottled insanity and for each show they remove the cork. He descended on Colorado with his traveling gang of misfits for 3 shows starting at the Belly Up in Aspen and ending at the Bluebird in Denver. In between Mr. Frasco made a Thursday night stop in The Choice City at Hodi’s Half Note. Attendance for shows in Fort Collins has been spotty as of late, but the Frasco fans turned out in full force. Andy Frasco has been hitting it hard with his own brand of blues, funk, and rock since he formed the U.N. in 2007 in Los Angeles. This powerful team of musicians have been honing their craft ever since, and it’s safe to say they are finally ready for the big time. With stops at Summer Camp, Mountain Jam, Hight Sierra, and LOCKN’ as well as a new album released in February of this year they making waves and gaining attention. Frasco invited Aaron Kamm & The One Drops to get the evening going in spectacular fashion.
Aaron Kamm & One Drops are power trio the likes of which you’ve never seen. They are anchored by the breakneck rhythm section consisting of Sean Ralla on drums and Andy Lee Dorris on bass. Mr. Kamm’s piercing vocals weave reggae jams with the delta blues creating a music wholly unique on today’s scene. The One Drops display an unabashed appreciation for the extended solos and hard hitting dance numbers. Their original “PHR” aka “Premium Hand-Rolled Reggae” was a barnburner. They cooled off the crowd with the delicate “Ain’t Nothing” about staying present in the day to day. The One Drops closed it down with their ode to love “Make It Better.” This band is pure fire; their sound is arresting and they are definitely on the rise. If you see the One Drops on the bill at your local venue, don’t ask questions just go.
If you’ve ever had the pleasure of seeing Andy Frasco live, it’s not something you soon forget. From his high impact vocals and rowdy bandmates to his scorching lyrics and unbelievable antics, it’s safe to say that every show is an unrepeatable experience. Frasco is another in what appears to be a long line of musicians working diligently to spread joy and happiness in the face of rather dark times in America. Music is the antidote to negativity and The U.N. is pushing the joy hard. Andy wrote the “Afro Manifesto” which includes 21 rules for living a good life and being happy. Their almost two hour throw down at Hodi’s Half Note is a testament to the raw energy this band brings to every performance. Frasco played a number of songs off of his recently released LP Change Of Pace including the heartsick love song “Don’t Let It Fool Ya.” During his fan favorite “Smokin’ Dope & Rock n’ Roll” Frasco sat up on his organ lit up a joint and passed it into the crowd. Andee Avila took a turn on the mic for the irreverent “Blame It On The Pussy.” This is the juxtaposition of Andy Frasco’s songwriting that is both perplexing and intriguing. One song oozes heart like “Can’t Force Love” and during the next song Frasco self-identifies as a “Slam Piece.”
Bassist Floyd Kellogg was the new man in the crew and experienced some light hazing from Frasco. Kellogg responded with his version of The Violent Femmes’ “Gone Daddy Gone.” Somewhere towards the end of the show Frasco pulled a young women out of the crowd and they sat next to each other on his piano while Ernie Chang serenaded her with a sax solo. Her beau snuck up from backstage and popped the question. Much to the delight of the crowd, she said yes. Multiple times Andy was kneed deep in the audience orchestrating the band from the floor. Late in the show he crowd surfed to the soundboard. During the final song of the set the band led a second line parade into the streets of Fort Collins and back to the stage. It was pandemonium in the best and most organized fashion possible. The U.N. wrapped it all up with “Let Your Mind Be Free” a heartfelt message to Frasco’s fans about what’s really important. And that was what we were left with, Andy telling us to keep our eyes peeled on the prize and to stay humble. We’ll try Andy… we’ll try.