In the wilds of suburban Pennsylvania, a new breed of electronic influenced
band is brewing. On most Thursday’s, you can find Brothers Past
at Rex’s in West Chester, just outside of
Philadelphia. On Saturday, August 18, I was fortunate to catch them at the

The Khyber Pass is a rock bar stuck in the middle of Philadelphia’s Old City
section, which is mostly trendy restaurants, martini bars and just a stones
throw from the Liberty Bell. The low ceiling and narrow room has a very
cavernous vibe going on, giving it that classic bar band feel. Love
Syndicate opened the show with a forty-five
minute set of jazzy funk music. Erin Ryan is featured on cello, giving an
old sound a refreshing twist. An excellent vocalist and guitar player,
Joshua Komorowski, fronts the band. If nothing else, check out Love
Syndicate to see their amazing bassist, Christopher Luxton.

The main attraction hit the stage around 11:30. Unlike most bands, Brothers
Past focuses on group improvisation. Dont expect to hear Tom Hamilton
explode into a raging guitar solo at any given moment. Using the tried and
true method of tension and release jamming, Brothers Past evokes memories
of other jambands but dont confuse their electronic influenced sound with
Sound Tribe Sector 9, Lake Trout or fellow Khyber veterans the Disco
Biscuits. There is a striking difference between those bands and this one.

Brothers Past blends smooth electronic sounds together into an ambient
texture to weave their way from one song to the next. Drummer Rick Lowenberg
drops in distinctive drum and bass beats to bring up the tempo. And in one
collective motion, their energy and intensity steamrolls through the Khyber,
knocking anyone down that stands in their way. Bassist Clay Parnell (who
recently joined the band) shifts the beat down again, locking into a groove
for Hamilton to play off of. Keyboardist Tom MeKee creates a score of
electronic sounds to add a distinctive layer of melodic chords.

What I find most interesting, and likeable, in a Brothers Past show is
their restraint. They know how to play without stepping on each other. When
McKee steps into the lead, Hamilton drops back. And Hamilton never overrides
the others with a tired guitar solo. If anyone stopped at any given moment,
the loss to the overall sound would speak volumes. Their songwriting
abilities are impressive. Catchy jazz hooks and rock inspired lines fuel
their growing catalog of songs. Lots of young bands play the various bars
around Philly, but Brothers Past struck me as driven musicians with a
different take on the growing electronic-based improvisational genre. If
you’re fan of this style, and especially bands like Disco Biscuits, Lake
Trout or even Radiohead, definitely give Brothers Past a listen the next
time theyre in town.