Garaj Mahal commits long term 

Jam band heats up with second show addition

Who: Garaj Mahal

When: March 9 and 10

Where : Boot Pub

Fans can’t seem to get enough of Garaj Mahal.

And the band hasn’t released one CD.

Garaj Mahal is one rising star amid the jam band phenomena, whose music is mainly dispersed through Web-based clips from live recordings by fans.

Their local demand has resulted in a second show being added to the "glow" theme from Upstream Entertainment. Upstream featured the band at the Burrard Ballroom amidst a flurry of neon decoration last week.

"We’ll dress up 20 fans in black outfits with glow-in-the-dark skeletons for our weekend we’re billing as Glow," says Derek Arrowsmith.

"Some fans travel to see all four shows in succession, from Bellingham and Vancouver to the two dates in Whistler," he says.

A new tune from drummer Alan Hertz, who played with guitarist Steve Kimmock for many years, is 7-Up. Written in 7/4 time, it’s a "funky little melody."

A second song from bassist Kai Eckhardt, titled Semos, follows along the polyrhythmic styles of the band.

"We play from our repertoire but could turn a funk piece into bluegrass," says keyboardist Eric Levy. "We’re always sure to come back to the head of whatever we’re playing."

Tapers in the audience often record Garaj Mahal shows live. With the surge in popularity and consistent demand for show dates, a studio record is in the works, while band members fend off other gigs.

"Fareed (bassist Fareed Haque) rang me up one day and said he needed a keyboard player for a gig in San Francisco, but I had no idea this would become a life-consuming thing,"he adds.

"Kai is turning down calls for NYC shows, and Fareed gets a lot of requests to go abroad. But we’re committing ourselves to Garaj Mahal as a primary goal,"says Levy.

After roles as a jobbing musician in Chicago, sometimes at places "too embarrassing to print," Levy returns to the free flow music playing of college days.

"You can be playing music but not enjoying it, and just doing it as a job, but with Garaj Mahal we really push it and go for it," says Levy.

"That’s what real music is really all about," he adds.

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