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Main Squeeze set to play V Club

Aug. 30, 2013 @ 12:22 AM

The Main Squeeze has only been around since 2009 but what a short, strange trip it’s already been.

The funk ‘n’ electro jammed soul band has already played at a slew of big fests such as Jazzfest, Bonnaroo, Summer Camp and Electric Forest.

They’ve won international battle of the bands in Macau, China and were handpicked by Rolling Stone to open for The Roots and Janes Addiction at the official Superbowl XLVI tailgate party in Indianapolis.

And Randy Jackson, yes, that Randy Jackson of “American Idol” fame, producing their new record.

Friday night, Aug. 30, they get the feeling right inside the V Club, 741 6th Ave., at a 10 p.m. show that also features local funk-flavored favorites, 40 Pound Snapper.

Cover is $8 for those 18 and up.

Keyboardist Ben “Smiley” Silverstein, who started the band back in their Indiana University days with guitarist Max Newman, said that the band (Corey Frye, vocals; Jeremiah Hunt, bass and Reuben Gingrich, drums), has really felt the love with great time slots on a slew of fests, most recently Rootwire in Ohio.

“The festivals are almost like a replenishment of our inspiration and our energy,” said Silverstein, calling from Indianapolis, where the band’s van was being worked on. “It’s really nice to get out and meet and see all of those bands and pick up different things they are doing and to get to meet all of the great people across this country. That gives us inspiration to keep going, and we’ve been really fortunate of late to be given really good time slots. There was a time when we always played early in the day and now we’ve been playing those 10 to midnight kind of slots and that has been awesome to get to the other side of the spectrum.”

Moved about a year ago to Chicago, The Main Squeeze has been working hard at breaking on through to the other side.

The band, which released its self-titled debut last summer, caught the ear of Grammy Award winning producer Randy Jackson.

Silverstein said the band, which was known for such tracks as  “I’ll Take Another” (clocking in at nearly 10 minutes), on its first album, has been super stoked to work with Jackson, who cut his teeth in the world’s best jam bands as a player with such seminal acts as Carlos Santana, Jerry Garcia and violinist, Jean Luc Ponty.

Although at first it was all a bit surreal.

“Our manager Michael Morrison has been friends with him and has been in touch with him and introducing him to new music out there and once he heard us he said he was immediately hooked and said he wanted to come see these guys who he flew to us in Bloomington, Indiana,” Silverstein said. “At first I think everyone was skeptical that he would even be there but he was. He saw us play at The Bluebird and we had dinner with him before the show so he could find out more about us. After he saw us, he flew out, booked studio time and we started working on the new album so it has been a crazy summer. We’ve been traveling a lot. It’s our most extensive touring schedule and we made it out to the West Coast for the first time and played and then went back shortly after and we recorded with Randy Jackson.”

Known in concert for souped up covers  of everything from Dead to funky jams of ol’ Motown classics, The Main Squeeze has been digging Jackson’s vibe in  the studio.

“The dynamic between the band and him has been really great,” Silverstein said. “He is straight to the point and extremely knowledgeable in the studio and he understands our sound, especially after seeing us live, and he can see the direction we are trying to go and that really helped him. Once we played all the new songs he knew the ones he liked the best and he  had a lot of great things to say about structure and about different sections of the songs and what would make them shine through.”

Silverstein said the band, which will be heading out after the V Club gig for two fests (Yoga Jam in Floyd, Va., and WarmFest in Indianapolis), said at the Club they’ll be trotting out between 15 to 18 new songs they’ve been cycling in and out of their sets as they continue to hone material for the second album.

“We’re not sure how many tracks will be on the new album. We played 10 songs in L.A. and he picked four or five that he liked the best and when he came to Chicago he wanted 10 new songs and some of those were finished and some were ideas and he picked some of those whether they were finished or just blueprints for a new song and since the sessions in Chicago we are trying all the songs out live seeing how the crowd responds to them,” Silverstein said. “We’ve got probably about eight of the new ones that we’re really stoked about and that the crowd is really responding great to them. There’s another chunk that we are still in the process of getting to that point where we really want them.”

Silverstein said they’re excited to play for the first time near Marshall University as they’ve had great receptions in Morgantown and Shepherdstown, W.Va.

“We actually played on a Sunday in Morgantown and those are always hit or miss, so we were surprised at how many people were there and how they got down,” he said.

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