What was mCab_with_Virgil_Donati_Alex_Machacek_Bunny_Brunel_Dennis_Hamm_at_Baked_Potatoeant as a tribute to CAB co-founding member Tony MacAlpine, turned into an addictive ritual of monster fusion with shredding guitars, mind-blowing drum solos, killer piano riffs, and testosterone-driven playing on behalf of Bunny Brunel, Virgil Donati, Alex Machacek, and Dennis Hamm. This lineup has played together as CAB once or twice before, but this time without MacAlpine. What an impression this combination of power players made during the two sold out shows at the Baked Potato on Saturday night, January 23, 2016. I have to admit, the only time I witnessed a mostly male audience was at a Transatlantic or Spock’s Beard concert. They say fusion and progressive rock are similar (except for the jazz changes), and fans of Virgil Donati (who is adept in both genres) came out in droves. A lot of drummers in the front row, along with CAB’s usual die-hard fans came from all over to get their fusion fix! Dennis_Hamm_at_Baked_Potato_Playing_Tony_MacBunny_Brunel_and_Alex_Machacek_at_Baked_Potato_Photo_Devino_Tricoche_Firsttakepr8Highlights of the evening were the opening song in the first set called “Tony Mac”—a song written by Bunny Brunel for Tony MacAlpine. Other tunes included “One for Stern,” “Song for My Friend,” “CAB,” and my all-time favorite “The Prankster.” The first show ebbed and flowed, filled with serious grooves and unbelievable musicianship. Alex Machacek, coming from Austria, did justice to the guitar parts and added his unique flavor; proving that shredding on the guitar isn’t only an American specialty. Virgil_Donati_at_Baked_Potato I couldn’t take my eyes off of the drummer Virgil Donati. I was speechless by his intricate, syncopated timekeeping, and the consistent way he handled his snare; he makes it look easy! Bunny Brunel intimidated us all as usual with his electric bass and especially the fretless. One of my favorite aspects of his playing is his clever use of harmonics, combined with lightning fast fingering—always accurate, always flawless, always remarkable . . . and frankly, unbelievable! Dennis Hamm really gave a beautiful performance and played some very impressive solos, while being the anchored cohesion to the set. Bunny_Brunel_at_Baked_Potato The second show was radically different. The songs “Dede,” “The Slide,” “Vlad,” “Song for Wayne,” and “Stratus” took us on a wild ride. It was heart warming when Bunny dedicated the song “Vlad” to his deceased friend and former housemate Vlad Weinstein, who passed away last Thanksgiving. An unexpected, but very special drum solo by Virgil Donati blew everybody away. The show ended with “Stratus,” a hard hitting, groove-oriented, gritty rendition that rivals any version I have yet to hear of that song. How these musicians can play so aggressively for two ambitious sets and make it look so easy is beyond me. The crowd was exhilarated by the pulsating,

fusion, musical movement that evening brought forth by Brunel, Donati, Machacek, and Hamm. The concert was definitely a fitting tribute to Tony MacAlpine—and not to mention, a night to remember! All photos by Devino Tricoche

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