By ROB DUGUAY Spring is transitioning into summer, which means that a few venues around Rhode Island are going to be putting on outdoor shows. One of those places is Dusk at 301 Harris Ave. in Providence. The place is located smack dab right in between
Spring is transitioning into summer, which means that a few venues around Rhode Island are going to be putting on outdoor shows.
One of those places is Dusk at 301 Harris Ave. in Providence. The place is located smack dab right in between two of the city’s neighborhoods, Smith Hill and Federal Hill, and has just started booking shows in its side lot much like it did last summer.
On Friday, April 16, the booking organization Myth Smith Productions will be putting on a show at Dusk titled “Clean Out The Funk” that’ll be starting at 6:30 p.m. The lineup features Newport funk-jazz act Queensboro Hustlers and Peerless Paupers from Norwich, Connecticut, with Johnston’s own Tai Chi Funk Squad headlining the evening.
I recently caught up with guitarist and vocalist Jake Anderson and drummer Dylan Butler from the funk-rock act about COVID-19 changing things, working from home, repairing sneakers, touring Florida, and plans for the summer.
ROB DUGUAY: What would you say is the biggest thing that has changed on a personal level because of COVID-19 ever since it hit in March of last year?
JAKE ANDERSON: For me, it was being home all the time. I worked remotely for a whole year, which at times was great. At the same time, I wasn’t out and about doing gigs or seeing people at all, and although I’m resilient, it wore me down after a while. Also, not playing shows was a soul killer.
DYLAN BUTLER: Definitely same here in a similar sense. I wasn’t playing gigs for a while last year, so having to cancel a bunch of them last spring and summer was a huge bummer.
RD: Jake, have you been doing anything else to pass the time outside of music?
JA: I started to get into the hobby of buying used shoes through eBay and restoring them. It’s exhilarating to buy a pair of shoes, as brand new would cost triple or quadruple what I would buy them for, and then put some elbow grease into them and they look like they are brand new again. I did watch a ton of movies and had some great hang time with my dog Phife.
RD: Dylan, you recently got to do a tour of Florida with Nate Cozzolino and the Lost Arts during this past winter. How were you able to put the expedition together, and what was the experience like playing in various spots there?
DB: We made a pretty rapid-fire run down to Florida and we did eight dates in two weeks. I’ve been going to Florida each year with different bands for a few years now while slowly building up a little circuit. The music scene down there is definitely thriving, there’s many more gigs to be had and the pay is about double what it is around here. The tour definitely made Nate, Kevin McIntyre and I as tight as an acoustic trio could be and it was a good experience. It had its stressful moments, of course, but we made it to every show and made some new friends. We recorded the whole thing so hopefully folks will see something soon.
RD: That’s awesome. What are your feelings going into the outdoor show at Dusk on the 16th? Are you excited to be playing outdoor gigs again?
JA: Yes, we’re very excited. We recently played a gig there with Nate Cozzolino and the Lost Arts, and although it was a little chilly, the vibe from the crowd and being able to play live again was all the warmth I needed.
RD: What are Tai Chi Funk Squad’s plans for the summer?
JA: We have some awesome outside gigs and a couple weddings we’re playing this summer. We also have outside gigs at Dusk, Tavern on the Hill in West Greenwich, and also the Patio on Main in East Greenwich that we’re definitely looking forward to performing at.
For more information on Tai Chi Funk Squad, visit the band’s Facebook page. For more information on Dusk and the April 16 show, visit www.duskprovidence.com.