If you’ve never heard of Borgo Pass, you’ve been hanging out in sports bars way too much. They’ve been around since ’93 and have been performing relentlessly ever since.
I first saw Borgo Pass more than six years ago at the Roxy in Huntington and was impressed with their heavy, moody sound. Their presence was cool, and it seemed like they didn’t give a shit what the audience thought. Borgo Pass creates music on their own terms— a mix of mid-’70s metal/acid rock á la Black Sabbath with an added twist of energy. They don’t try to hide from their influences and their songs can easily go beyond the standard three-minute lengths you hear on the radio.
When I found new Borgo Pass tracks at www.mp3.com/borgopass, I was curious to see what the band was sounding like nowadays. The answer is, thankfully, exactly the same. They never changed their sound, they only enhanced it. On mp3.com, they describe themselves as “sludge-core” and that couldn’t be more right on.
“Drunkard’s Doom,” a sludge-rock anthem, is but one riff that is never ending. The song would fall flat if any other parts were added. It sounds so much like Sabbath but with vocals by way of Alice in Chains circa “Dirt.” This is a perfect example of how far you can go with a single riff by building on the dynamics.
“Meat Wallet,” a rockin’ up-tempo track with fuzzed-out riffs that captures the pure essence of Borgo Pass, makes me want to ride a Harley— if only I knew how. I have no idea what this song is about— perhaps it’s about big asses.
“Saloon Burn” is the weakest of the three tracks because it sounds a little too happy. I prefer Borgo Pass’ moodier songs that explore their influences on a deeper level. As much as I hate to say it, this song sounds a bit like Pearl Jam’s “Evenflow.” Hell, you may even think that’s a good thing. —Mike Bazini
Deep Banana Blackout
The essence of a jam band is its collective improvisational ability— the live show. That’s why these bands rely so heavily on ticket sales as opposed to album sales. Just look at the Grateful Dead or Phish— not once have their studio albums ever come close to capturing the band at their best, and the new slew of rhythmic noodlers know it.
Local hippie-funk outfit Deep Banana Blackout leads the latest batch of burgeoning jam-rock experimenters offering live doses online. Their Website offers three songs, all timing in at more than nine minutes, so be patient with the download. While the extended jams provide listeners with a clearer picture of what the band does, it still doesn’t do justice to the full experience. Here’s why:
My Eyes, My Eyes! DBB’s spitfire frontwoman Jen Durkin is one of the area’s best vocalists. Her frenetic barefoot stage prancing catalyzes the crowds to follow suit. But without being able to see Durkin’s stage cues, the contagious ass-motion will have to wait until you’re at a show. “Getchall’ 76,” recorded during DBB’s April run at Wetlands in NYC, sounds spectacular with Durkin providing her fiercely powerful vox. But it’s seeing Durkin’s ribcage rising and falling above her belly chain that completes the picture.
I’ll Take Some Ginko Biloba and a Double Shot of Espresso with that Lick, Please. Like any jam band worth its weight in patchouli, DBB are masters of the extended jam. “Saturn/Ascension,” an epic 16-minute exploration recorded at The Roxy in Boston, features Sun Ra and Cosmic Krewe trumpet player Michael Ray sitting in. Despite Ray, this sterling aural marathon takes mega-concentration to simply sit through without being able to witness the intricate interplay onstage.
What the Hell Was That? “The Party is in the Kitchen” is hardcore ’70s street funk written by James Brown’s drummer Clyde Stubblefield. Also recorded during the Wetlands run, with Stubblefield and Ray sitting in, the song captures several flubbed notes and missed beats that would usually go unnoticed. Then again, true jam heads revel in those bobbles— imperfections keep everything from sounding too sterile. —Ian D’Giff
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This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on August 24, 1999