Afflatus: Surprisingly Cool

The Horseshoe Tavern
January 15, 2004
There were so many cool kids hanging out at The Horseshoe Tavern last Thursday I thought surely I was in for an hour or two of pop music. My fears were amplified when the five Afflatus members took to the stage; they were just too clean cut for rock.
They shuffled around looking mildly nervous during sound check and panic started to set in. Too many cool kids, too much Gap clothing, the rockers in the bar were getting nervous. But then the lights went out…

Singer Jeff Beadle transformed suddenly into Sublime's Brad Nowell, belting out the first few lines of "Forgive Me" in a near carbon-copy of the late singer's voice. Afflatus transported the entire bar to somewhere in sunny Southern California and a Pina Colada suddenly seemed like a really good idea. Yep, something about the lights going down that makes it a little safer for all of us to unleash the wild beast within.

Three songs into their set and no one was left standing at the back of the bar; they were all up front shakin' their tail-feathers. Luke Vajsar on bass delivered the funk and soul, drummer Scott Honsberger kept a virginally tight groove and Rob Pretsell can play his guitar like a mother f***in RIOT. Usually when a band has keys, they stick out like a sore thumb, announcing their presence over and above all the other instruments. Well, poor Matt Rocca sat off to the side, and had such a subtle keyboard sound; he was a little hard to notice. Until his solo; where he shone like a beacon.

The cool girls were giddy, the cool guys wished it was them onstage and Afflatus continued along. Songs hinted of Red Hot Chili Peppers here and there, maybe a little Matt Good, then dove into long, drone-y space-jams resurfacing once again with the SoCal summer. It's obvious that these guys have been playing their instruments since they were fetuses…so friggin talented, all of them…and they're probably humble too. The only thing that'll keep Afflatus from making major waves in Canada will be their desire to do so. Surely that many cool kids (and one music geek) can't all be wrong.

Writer: Erica Basnicki

Photo:Oz Jenab

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