The Lehigh Valley’s newest musical sensation, Electric Garden Party, made their full band debut at the Funhouse on October 24th, 2012. Their unique sound encompasses all styles of music and can only be described through a mélange of jam, reggae, hard rock, electronica and funk. However, no one genre can fully define the complexity of their musical offerings. With four exceptionally talented musicians, their energizing performance consisted of several improvisational jams, original songs and two Pink Floyd covers that their Facebook Event Page deemed worthy of “melting your face”.
The band consists of Russell Snow, 23 of Bethlehem, on drums and vocals, Terence Beach, 33 of Bethlehem on keyboard, Evan Wismer, 35 of Easton on bass and Joey Fontana, 21 of Boyertown on lead guitar. Fontana, whose biggest musical influences include Jimmy Herring and Derek Trucks, is a self-taught guitarist and has been playing since he was thirteen. Snow has played the drums since age fifteen and attended Berklee School of Music and Moravian College for musical performance. Snow and Fontana started playing together six months ago after they met at a Blind Owl show at Mezza Luna. Blind Owl is a local blues rock band that Fontana has been playing in for two years with Snow’s father. After seeing Fontana’s performance that night, the two ended up jamming together in Snow’s basement a week later. They clicked instantly through their abilities to musically coordinate elaborate improvisational techniques. In July, they invited Snow’s co-worker Terence Beach to play with them. A week later, Beach introduced Evan Wismer to play bass for the band. Beach and Wismer played in the local band “Foolz” for many years before the band broke up.
The band’s name is another story altogether, revamped several times before deciding on the catchy and intriguing “Electric Garden Party”. The name evolved from “Electric Garden Orchestra” to “Electric Garden Mafia” to the memorable title of “Electric Garden Party”. Snow says they originally came up with the name during one of their late night practices in Beach’s basement. The name not only describes the powerful electronic sound of their instrumentals but also the vibrant elation of their high-spirited musical aura and on stage performance.
The band made their full debut on Wednesday October 24th at The Funhouse on South Side Bethlehem. However, for their first show, Snow, Fontana and Wismer played a show at the Steel Pub during Musikfest in August. They had no original material written but were able to play an impressive three hour long set of just improvisational jams.
Their gig at The Funhouse began with the power being blown out three times in their first song due to an overload of electricity from their professional lighting system. Subsequently, the Funhouse was lit up by a multitude of glowsticks handed out to everyone in the audience. Between their electrifying sounds and the vibrancy of neon colors, their band’s name lived up to its future legacy that evening. Their first set lasted forty-five minutes and consisted of one improv song entitled, “Jam in D Sharp” and their first original, “The Cosmic Kitchen.” Their second set began with a cover of Pink Floyd’s “Comfortably Numb” with Snow on vocals, followed by an original metal song they wrote the day before and finished with a rendition of Pink Floyd’s “Breathe/Time” that incorporated a twenty minute jam solo in between. Their final set, “JamInE” (Jam-In-E), lasted for an hour and a half and fused together a blend of reggae, rock, funk and dance style sounds that left everyone in the audience raving on the dance floor.
Electric Garden Party made a lasting impression on everyone that night and the band is excited to get back in the studio to write more originals while learning a few surprise covers. For more information and future shows, check out their Facebook Fan Page, www.facebook.com/ElectricGardenParty
From left to right: Terence Beach, Joey Fontana, Evan Wismer and Russell Snow
Terence Beach, Keyboard
Joey Fontana (Guitar, left) and Evan Wismer (Bass, right)
Russell Snow, Drums
Photo credits: Matthew Blum – Lightly-Salted Productions