When I was in college I had the honor of getting to work on several films with a performer named Faith Kelly. Faith is a HUSTLER, a naturally talented person who takes it to the next level by working SO DAMN HARD. We became friends quickly, and after a week on set together she made me a mix tape that I always have in my car. She’s the reason I know about Brian Eno and Can, and that alone could have been enough for me to owe my life to her.
One of Faith’s many creative outlets is a dream-space-psych-love rock band called RuckZuck. Band members Nick Bedo, Matt Bedo, and Faith Kelly have made a whole world on stage, with bright colors and soaring riffs. I’ve seen them before, at a show in Rochester, NY (Faith and I share an unwavering love for the Western, NY city — another thing that has made our bond so strong). I hosted their concert while I was still doing some standup, and then danced the night away during their set.
I’ve been trying to convince RZ to play a show in Maine for a long time, and this summer, they made a stop at Geno’s Rock Club in Portland, my new concert hometown. After work on Friday we drove down the coast to hang out with our friends before the show.
Geno’s shares a block with the State Theatre, putting it practically in the center of Portland, ME (and across the street from some really good noodles). I had never gone there before and was glad to have an excuse to do so — Geno’s is a pretty awesome venue. The bar is pretty large and easy to get to, there’s a foosball table, and the stage is a cool, black-box style. The space has tons of personality, and I’ll be excited to see other up-and-coming acts there in the future.
We got there a few hours early and got to have our reunion, meeting at the front of the venue. We tooled around Portland for a while looking for coffee and catching up about the rest of their tour, what nights had gone over well and which ones had gone poorly. We went behind the venue to hang out and listen to ACDC, and share our stories from other shows we’ve gone to this summer — Faith is a die-hard Flaming Lips fan and always has a good story about the last time she joined her musical tribe. We played foosball during the opening act, which turned out to be one of the highlights of my night.
I noticed during this particular performance how much you can hear rock’s history in Ruckzuck’s music. There are moments that have a twinge of those bands that Faith showed me with that mix tape, especially Brian Eno. Faith, Nick, and Matt honor their influences by bringing their vibe into a new setting, a space age adventure.
This set was made all the more awesome by how much the crowd in Portland seemed to be into it. I love Ruckzuck’s music, and I love the people who are in it, and seeing my city get down to their show was such a delight. They played a setlist of songs that they’re currently working on as well as the old classics — a few of their songs was in a classmate’s junior year film, so I’ve heard them probably as much as I’ve heard some Beatles songs. They’re all dynamic performers, and create a complete world in the room. There was one young woman wearing a very cute dress and earplugs in her ears who was dancing so hard the whole set long. Seeing someone be that stoked about our friend’s band was a treat.
Ruckzuck rules, and their latest album Live From the Studio, along with the rest of their work, is available on their homepage: https://www.ruckzuckband.com.