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On a cool crisp fall Friday night, Kick the Cat came into town at the legendary Wonder Bar in Asbury Park, to turn up the heat, and man was it a scorcher! The crowd was completely blown away by the radical sounds of this jazz fusion quartet. Kris Myers, the drummer for Umphrey's Mcgee,  formed Kick the Cat in the late 90's. Many in attendance including myself are huge Umphrey's fans, but have never seen or heard his side project, so we were highly anticipating what kind of insanity was coming our way. They walked on stage and within the first notes played we all knew we were about to witness something real special. My jaw dropped and I was in awe of the upbeat funky obscure jazz grooves, and the crowd couldn't stop dancing and rocking out.

Kick the Cat is Kris on drums, along with Vijay Tellis-Nayak on keys, Chris Siebold on guitar, and Chris Clemente on bass. These college roommates were making names for themselves in the Chicago area and began challenging each other, jamming to the others unique compositions, and the result was Kick the Cat. A few years later, Kris got offered the drummer position in Umphrey's and had to step away from the band. Since then all the rest of the guys became legends themselves in the Chicago music scene. They joined up with drummer Tom Hipskind and kept the band alive with Kris playing with Umphreys. Kris is now back with the guys again and released two albums in the past couple years, first was Gurgle and the most recent is Weirdo. I have been getting familiar with the band's tunes since I left the show in shock of the mind blowing music.

Local jam band phenoms Fungkshui got the party started. It's always a funky good time with these guys, they get better everytime I see them. I wrote a review of them a few months ago. They are gonna be next to make it big in the scene! After they warmed up the crowd, Kick the Cat took the stage. Chris Siebold's unique guitar raw guitar riffs and incendiary solos, along with Vijay's smooth touch on the keys, and Chris's thunderous funky bass lines all meld together with Kris's absolutely absurd drum prowess for an epic journey into the progressive jazz funk sound. They all bring their own bold style, and this being my first time checking them out or hearing any of their music I was flabbergasted. The crowd would go from dancing their asses off to straight up staring at the guys playing in disbelief of how incredibly tight and on point they are, especially not really playing many shows or touring together that much. 

I am not all too familiar with the song titles but one tune stuck out to me and I had to find out the name when looking through their discology. It is called "Hope against Hope" off of Gurgle released in 2021. This song to me is a great representation of the band and for me was a stand out of the show. It is a musical journey into jazz funk fusion. It is a mixture of hard aggressive rock, with funky bass lines, Kris is all over it on the drums, and the disjointed jams weaving in and out of slow to hard is a masterpiece unto itself. The crowd went wild during Chris's guitar solo, and Vijay added an old organ sound in the mix. It truly was mind boggling to watch these guys.

All in all, Kick the Cat is back in action and they are on top of their game. If you like funky jazz progressive rock and roll, seeing these guys perform live is a must. Each one of them brings their unique style blending together for one rocking good time. Here is a link below to the bands website for you to find all the info you need to start your Kick the Cat journey. If you have the opportunity to catch them I highly recommend doing so, and be prepared to have your mind blown and dance your ass off. These guys are absolutely amazing!

 To learn more about Kick the Cat, Click HERE

Matthew Lang

Photojournalist - New Jersey

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