Kent-Based Treespeak Delivers Funky Goods at Beachland Tavern


On a quiet Sunday night otherwise spent watching the Cavs cave to a surprise Boston offense, a handful of devotees congregated at Beachland Tavern for a nice co-headlining show from regional jam band up-and-comers Treespeak (Kent) and The Clock Reads (Pittsburgh). Given everything that happened, it wouldn't have astonished me to find that LeBron had slunk into the corner of the bar, far away from Quicken Loans Arena, to catch a few jams in the second half.

Treespeak closed out the night, and they were the band that I was somewhat familiar with going into the show. Everything I had heard was super tight, and they lived up that promise onstage. They veered through a number of cool stylistic influences; at one point, it almost sounded like Vince Ghoulardi doing a "Divided Sky" send-up, which was just terrific.

The band formed last year, and it's heartening to see them growing quickly with more and more local shows, especially up here in Cleveland. With a mostly instrumental vibe, Treespeak seems to tee up a lot of opportunity for the funk scene around here.

When they dropped into "Mike's Song," I couldn't help but cheer. They threw down an uptempo take on the main composed section into an abbreviated round of more open-ended improv. No second jam, though.

The Clock Reads, on the other hand, represented the jazzy counterpoint to Treespeak's funk. With several members educated in the jazz tradition, it's easy to see where they get their influences from. The guitar chording, the lead phrasing and the drummer's calculated use of cymbal and rim clicks — everything amounted to a late-night lounge set that dovetailed into some really nice jamming and a number of smooth teases. The newer tune, "39 Cabinet," was a favorite.

Can't beat a nice night on the town; despite the low attendance, which we've written about, the energy was there all night.

One other quick note: After 15-plus years of attending shows pretty regularly — with a twice or thrice weekly pace ca. 2013-2015 — I only recently came to the conclusion that I should start wearing ear plugs. By the time I landed at Dinosaur Jr earlier this year, I knew that this was a good idea. With that thought, I upgraded and got a set of high-fidelity "reusable" ear plugs: Etymotic Research's ER20-XS, which sounds Terminatorish and which gets the job done better than I could have thought. You get three different options (two rubbery "flange" tips and a foam tip), and they fit perfectly. These guys were specifically designed for concert-goers and music industry pros, and they keep the tunes clear and natural-sounding. I probably should have done this sooner?

Bottom line, from me to you: Protect your ears.

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