Contributed by Natalie Del Castillo
The Bridge has brought the funk back to Blacksburg again.
Fans of all ages filled up Awful Arthur’s on Tuesday night to hear the eclectic act from Baltimore. The band picked Blacksburg as the first stop on a tour to support its new CD, “National Bohemian.”
“The people and the vibe here have always been like, ‘We’re here to enjoy the music and we like what you guys do,’” bassist/vocalist Dave Markowitz said. “It’s always been an absolute treat with the fans and the vibes here.”
“National Bohemian,” The Bridge’s fifth album, is named for the band’s favorite local pub, but it describes the touring lifestyle, too. The disc shows a band coming into its own.
Lead singer/guitar player Cris Jacobs and beat-boxer/mandolinist Kenny Liner founded the band, and they have an artistic bond that is almost immediately apparent, both live and on record. Markowitz, saxophonist Patrick Rainey, drummer Mike Gambone and keyboardist Mark Brown complete this dynamic jam band’s lineup.
Their journey together has been long, and it keeps getting better.
Opening with “New Mistake” from their 2004 album “Cross Street Market,” The Bridge got the crowd grooving in preparation for what would be a sensational night.
Rainey’s saxophone skills were impeccable — with a constant smile on his face, he played his sax with gusto. Rainey and Brown jammed throughout a few of the tracks, their instruments summoning hip-shaking melodies.
A drum solo from Gambone, halfway through the show, kept feet tapping with the beat. Song after song, the crowd took in The Bridge’s good vibes. Late in the show, Liner told the crowd that this was a sentimental night, and the group wouldn’t have wanted to start the tour anywhere else.
When it was over, the audience called back The Bridge, which played a two-song encore
We caught up with Rainey after the show, and he summed up what “National Bohemian” is to the band: “It’s the period of the end of a really long sentence … everybody should look forward to the next paragraph.”