A brief, bright chapter in the area music scene will end soon, as the five members of JamAntics prepare to go their separate ways after a series of local farewell shows. The announcement came suddenly — just last March the group unveiled its first studio effort, the four-song EP Land of Make Believe, and showed no signs of slowing down a busy live schedule. In June they appeared on the main stage at the Verizon Wireless Arena for a Best of New Hampshire event.
Beginning in 2009, their mix of jazz-inflected jam rock made a big impact, fueled by the release of several live albums and a steady stream of shows made available online. JamAntics quickly became known for irreverence and bracing musicianship, appearing everywhere. They opened for Little Feat at Hampton Beach Casino just weeks after their first official gig, played the Big Up festival and appeared in “JamanChicks” drag for Halloween shows in Concord, the band’s hometown.
But early this month, an e-mail went out to fans. “After over two and a half amazing years filled with hundreds of shows,” it read, “it is with sadness that we must tell you that Jamantics has decided that this will be the last Summer of shows for us.” The band plays its final Concord gig on Friday, Aug. 19, at the Capitol Center’s Spotlight Café with The Brew; the last JamAntics show happens at the World’s Championship Chili Cookoff in Manchester on Oct. 1. There are also August shows in Waterville Valley, Dover and Manchester.
“We decided to go out on a high note,” said guitarist Lucas Gallo recently by telephone. “We don’t want to focus on the why, as much as that is what’s happening. We hope everybody enjoyed the ride as much as we did.”
All the group’s members have solo projects to focus on. Gallo just completed an acoustic album; he’s booking shows and working on a late summer/early fall live music series in Concord. Drummer Masceo is also working in the studio — he released his own disc, Courage, in January.
Bassist Eric Reingold’s band Local Blend continues to play out. “It’s a three-piece instrumental funk outfit that he’s been working on, which is an incredible group,” Gallo says. “Really fun, solid music.” Guitarist Freeland Hubbard leads Butter, a unique drums/keyboard/guitar trio specializing in instrumental jazz-rock.
Fiddle and mandolin player Jordan Tirrell-Wysocki is a member of rising country stars The Dusty Gray Band. The group has opened for Joe Nichols and B.B. King and is reportedly in talks with John Rich (Big & Rich) about a possible record deal.
But one of the JamAntics’ members is also giving guitar lessons, which begs the question — was the decision to move on a financial one?
Gallo demurs. “It gets to a point where there are a lot of opportunities that present themselves, and you have to let people take hold of those opportunities and take hold yourself,” he says. “As far as keeping a five-piece band together, it can be difficult, but it can be done, and we’ve done it.”
The group made a name for itself early on by inviting out-of-town performers for multi-band JamAntics Presents nights at Penuche’s in Concord, and Gallo still sees hope on the horizon.
“I have heard other people say that the scene in Concord is not that great, but from everyone that I have talked with, people love live music,” he says. “Concord does lack a solid music venue, like a Press Room or Shaskeen. If we had something like that [it] would boom even more.”
The recently opened Spotlight Café has helped fill that need, and the band looks forward to its final Concord show there Aug. 19.
“We’re wicked stoked,” Gallo says. “The Brew is one of our favorite regional bands, so we’re pumped that it’s our final hometown show.”
Gallo did, however, hold out a glimmer of hope for a reunion down the road.
“It’s an amicable breakup,” he said. “We’ll still jam together; no one hates each other. We all get along.”
But he also says that the band knew that it would end at some point.
“What we did from the beginning was say, ‘Let’s ride this wave and see what happens and what we can do,’” Gallo says. “We’re very grateful for everything that has happened to us, and for all the friends we’ve made.”