Arts & Entertainment

Press Pass: Poor Man’s Lobster

Persistence and dedication are two of the best traits a band can have as it tries to break out of the local music scene. Fortunately for fusion funk-jazz group Poor Man’s Lobster, they seem to have no shortage of either.presspass

Persistence and dedication are two of the best traits a band can have as it tries to break out of the local music scene. Fortunately for fusion funk-jazz group Poor Man’s Lobster, they seem to have no shortage of either.

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Poor Man’s Lobster (Photo: Courtesy Mike DiBella)

There are few weeks that go by that the Fairfax-based band doesn’t perform at least a pair of shows. With regular gigs at Fat Tuesday’s the fivesome is continually crafting its style and building a reputation as one of the most intriguing young groups in the area.

“The last three years, we never had a week off,” drummer and founding member Michael Lilburn says. “We work really hard and play all the time. We usually feel weird when we don’t play.”

Along with guitarist and singer Justin Piteleski, Lilburn has seen the band’s lineup consistently evolve over the years. Bass players rotated through. Horn players came and went. For the moment, however, the group is relatively static and primed to release its first full-length recorded album around the new year (tentatively Dec. 29).

Like it’s lineup the band’s sound has constantly changed over the past three years, now arriving at a blend of blues, jazz, rock and funk that Lilburn likes to call “audio acrobatics.”

“It’s the way I’ve always wanted to play as a drummer,” Lilburn says. “We just started out doing simple rock and Reggae covers. Our sound was kind of to get everyone to dance at first. Now we’re playing like a fusion, Weather Report style, complicated fusion jazz/funk songs. It’s really challenging.”

The schizophrenic “Beat Heat Funk for a Bent Beat Duck,” available to stream on their MySpace page is a good illustration of said difficult sound. (Heck, it’s difficult enough just to type.) The tune alternates between a frantic rhythm and belt-out-loud chorus with an elongated, and intricate, bass solo that shows off the band’s chops. The nine minute-plus “I’m Leavin’” builds from a slow groove into a growl-filled blues ballad, adding screaming guitar and saxophone solos before bowing out.

Area music aficionados will get the opportunity to check the band out live when it performs at The State Theatre with Future and See-I as part of a concert benefiting the Wounded Warrior Project, a charity dedicated to helping veterans injured while serving abroad.

To date, Poor Man’s Lobster has enjoyed their history with Future. Lilburn’s friendship with the bass player since middle school has netted Poor Man’s Lobster a few opening opportunities, including this show on Dec. 4, which Lilburn is particularly excited to play.

“This is our first time involved with the Wounded Warrior Project,” he says. “I have a few friends who will be there who were in Iraq for a few tours. Anytime we can play for a meaningful cause it just makes it that much better.”

If the band’s raw musical talent is any indication, Lilburn and Co. should have plenty of opportunities to help out for many years to come.

• Tickets for the Dec. 4 show at the State Theatre are $15 in advance and $17 at the door. For more information on Poor Man’s Lobster, visit www.myspace.com/poormanslobster.

 

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