Words and Photos by Autumn Walden
It was the perfect time for a soul love reunion. The Dirk Quinn Band and Flux Capacitor returned to the World Cafe in Philadelphia, the place where over a year ago I fell in love with the DQB and discovered that I was, indeed, DTF (Down to Flux).
Dirk Quinn Band Revisited
The DQB has evolved a bit since my last sighting as they’ve added a new keyboardist, Scott Coulter (formerly of Psychedelphia), as well as bassist Clay Stiles (of LP Stiles). Dirk Quinn is still at the helm of this musical enterprise, along with saxophonist Max Swan, and drummer Steve “Zeeg” Zegray.
They began the night with the twists and turns, dives and jives of a song new to my ears, “Mustache Rock”, then went back in time into “P” and “Melt” from Dirk Quinn’s self-titled album. “Melt” drew me in easily and flowed like a dripping canvas which then got painted Pink…literally. The band slid into an instrumental cover of Pink Floyd’s “On the Turning Away” which I still hear faintly, even as I write.
When the band drifted into favorites from both Quinntet and Live at Home, my skin rippled with excitement. Songs like “Eve” (with Michael Borowski of Splintered Sunlight on keys) and “Macadam Song” sucked us all into a group dream. There is a confident comfort in the sound of the DQB—each member so masterful at his craft, boldly forging new paths over multiple bars of improvisational bliss. They brought the whole damn thing down with a “Hello World>Evil Birdman of Funk” during which I’m pretty sure I howled like a hyena after an extended keyboard solo.
Back to the Future with Flux Capacitor
The Specht brothers—Pete (vocals, guitar), Mike (vocals, keyboard), and Jason (drums)—are a flurry of long hair, liquid heat, and unrelenting rock. And they did not revisit material from their two previous albums They Know We Know and Monolith—instead they fast-forwarded into songs like “Subterranean Skies”, “Escape”, “Lights Out”, “Light at the end of the Tunnel”, “Cycle 9”, and “Crush”. And when I say fast-forward, I mean you could hear the acceleration of sound, speeding well beyond 88mph. When Flux went in for the jam, there was sweat on the dance floor. There was yelling. There was astral travel. My soul returned to my body a few days later with a note from Doc Brown that read, “Great Scott!”
Opening for both the DQB and Flux was Vibratek—Zac Kabinoff (Bass), Guy Clauson (Vocals,Guitar), Dave Schaefer (Drums), and Kevin Smethers (Keyboards). On this particular evening they also had an electric violinist, Emma Trulson, whose Viper added a spooky trip to their synthafunkstarockstrumental groove.