The magic of the bluesy-jamming rock band Gazebo Effect is hard to pin down.
It might be the fact the band draws from so many varied influences to create a sound that is purely hard-rocking Gazebo Effect.ADVERTISING
It might be frontman Jamie Major’s dynamic vocals, at once soaringly melodic and also grittily grounded.
It might be that drummer Ian Robertson is the only member of the five-piece band who isn’t playing some sort of a guitar. (Which, if you’re keeping count, means there are three guitars and a bass deftly maneuvering through melodies and harmonies. Yes, three guitars.)
It most certainly involves the energy these five guys – Wheaton’s Major, Ray Bach of Palatine, Frankfort’s James Bloomfield, and Eric Dost and Robertson, both of La Grange — bring to their performances.
Gazebo Effect excels at harnessing the heavy influences of ’70s rock and Umphrey’s McGee-style jams on stage (“And King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard,” Bach emphatically added), mixed with flourishes from other sources.
“One of the first things I noticed is none of us listen to the same type of music,” Major said. “We all have a few bands we can agree on, but for the most part we all have pretty different tastes in music; we bring different influences to the table.”
The songs draw people in, as a recent Tonic Room gig showed, when band members packed the house as they performed surreal jams laced with funk and driving rock songs dripping with the blues to a room full of dancing fans.
That energy translates directly to the new self-titled LP, “GAZEBO EFFECT,” dropping Friday across all streaming platforms.
“The album is actually songs we’ve been playing for a while,” Dost said. “We had done a six-track EP and a three-track EP, so the next thing that made sense was to do a full-length thing.”
The new album is a collection of distinctly individual songs, each bearing its own standard, but through which common threads of sound are woven. “Baguyler” sounds like it stepped right from the opening credits of a James Bond movie, while “Blue Collar Boys” takes things in a raucous, bluesy direction. “There Are No Words” is an instrumental chase sequence straight out of a heist film, while “Slow Going” brings Major’s vocals to a low simmering ballad.
“Peace of Mind” is a notable inclusion on the album, in part because of the poignant and clever lyricism Major brought to the song.
“Why can’t things be sad but hopeful?” he asks in the chorus.
“I wrote most of it during this time of year. … When you get into February, you’re really just sick of the cold and you’re kind of holding out for things to get warmer so you can just go outside and move around a little bit more. Emotionally, I had just been going through a breakup. So there was a weird parallel between how I was feeling emotionally and where the weather was.
“That’s kind of a weird thing to say,” he noted. “Just wanting to get through some of the tough (expletive) we have to deal with and getting ready to get outside and move around a little bit.”
It’s somewhat fitting that Gazebo Effect, which officially started nearly 2½ years ago at a summer backyard jam, will perform with fellow summer party-leaning band Ballroom Boxer for the release show Saturday, Feb. 16, at Subterranean Downstairs. The band will be joined by the soul-influenced stylings of Elgin’s Holly,.
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Gazebo Effect (album release) with Ballroom Boxer, Holly,
When: 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 16
Where: Subterranean (Downstairs), 2011 W. North Ave., Chicago, (773) 278-6600 or subt.net
Tickets: $10; all-ages show
• Gazebo Effect’s new full-length album, “GAZEBO EFFECT,” is out for purchase and on streaming services Friday, Feb. 15. You can also catch the band when it competes for a slot on the Summer Camp music festival lineup at Martyrs’ On the Road to Summer Camp battle of the bands at 9 p.m. Saturday, March 23.