Last Friday night, instead of getting into debauchery like stereotypes tell us typical college kids should, Juice and I met in Stokes as if we had four midterms this week to cram for. As I'm sure you know, group study sessions are never quite as productive as planned. We didn't get anything done—well, other than this awesome jam session.
Keyboardist Chris Vu and Guitarist/Vocalist Kamau Burton arrive first. The first pedal on the piano squeaks more than the mice in Walsh. Graciously, Kamau offers Chris the grease from his half-eaten burger to oil up the mechanism. Chris says he thinks the old piano might fix itself. It doesn't. Most of the rest of the band arrives. The pedal still squeaks, but as Juice's sound comes straight at you, the squeaks are lost in the funk.
If you have had the pleasure of seeing Juice perform live over the past few months, you know this is not the same ragtag group of freshmen who won Battle of the Bands a few short years back. Over the past eight months or so, it seems as if the band has reached another gear entirely. While they have always been running around where rock, rap, jazz, and funk intersect, they are much more comfortable now in that space. They have begun to innovate in that limbo, and while exploring their eclectic influences across genres, the band has very much improved.
We will have to wait until their looming album drops, sometime in Mid-March according to the band, to fully understand how hard they have been working, but it seems as if they have moved from a band that would be great to dance to at your wedding, to a band that has people singing their lyrics right back to them in a Boston concert hall. This is a massive step for Juice, and the band says that the recent outpouring of fan support is incredibly surreal, but just makes them want to keep going. Violinist Christian Rougeau dreams of even coming close to THE Dave Matthews Band and J. Cole's showmanship at their concerts: "And the audience is there, yelling the whole verse back at them on stage, that would be incredible."
The influences of Juice range far and wide, and I won't even attempt to list them here as the band could hardly come up with an artist they all enjoy listening to together, although they are sure there must be someone. They are living in our world, going through stereotypical hardships in the BC bubble just like us. Spending way too much time on YouTube, just like us, which is incidentally where Bassist Rami El-Abidin got the idea for the ukulele/bass hybrid with rubber strings you see in the video. Juice showed me how serious they were about their dream, and it only has me hungry for more. Watch. Enjoy. If you feel the same, check them out on Facebook, at their upcoming shows, or online at itstimeforjuice.com.