PHOTOS: The Groove Merchants and Hambone Relay’s Funky Friday

The energy was raucous and the musicianship was on-point late Friday night at The Funhouse, which was packed near capacity to hear the soulful sounds of Hambone Relay and The Groove Merchants.

Friday night was my first time encountering Hambone Relay, and I would like to think we’ll be crossing paths many times in the future. The up close and personal nature of The Funhouse made the band’s performance an intimate one; one where it was easy to stand there and marvel at the musicianship on display. Organist Mark Brown showcased¬†both a strong lyrical and rhythmic presence in his playing, while the guitar work of John Udinsky, Jr. caused observers to hang on every note of every solo.

Hambone Relay’s brilliant performance got The Funhouse amped enough. Where they left off, The Groove Merchants picked up to blow the roof off the place. Frontman Tye Vallone is a quintessential blues man, always going above and beyond in putting his raw energy and passion behind every note and lyric. Standing out on this Friday night, however, were bassist John Evin Groome and drummer Anthony Guidotti, whose fun and funky rhythms kept people dancing in whatever corner of space they could find.

Under the low Funhouse lights, we did manage to sneak a few photos. Hopefully, there will be reason to capture many more of each band soon enough!

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