Katz performs on QU’s Unplugged

Mike Schoeck

The Dover, NH based Aaron Katz Band performed an acoustic set on Jan. 30 on Quinnipiac Unplugged.
The jam band’s show was recorded live in front of a studio audience of two dozen people in the Mass Communications Studio A, and is currently being shown on QUEST Channel 30. Katz is the singer-songwriter of a five-piece jam-rock band formerly called Percy Hill. Both bands have toured a modest 24 states from New England down to Miami, FLA.
The new ensemble has only been active five months, while Percy Hill lasted three years. On Wednesday the band ran through an hour-long eight-song set. The majority of the set can be heard on last year’s independently produced 11-track record “Simplest Warrior.”
Like other jam bands that started out on the local circuit of touring and promotion, Katz’s band is no exception.
“We’re all New Englanders [and] in college I took up Jazz Studies [with] influences like Pat Metheny, Dave Matthews and Joni Mitchell,” said Katz before the band took stage. The wide array of influences persists throughout the band’s set; “Radio Line Savior” and “Ammonium” wing from jamming funk karma similar to Galactic and moe. to extended bridge jams with modern rock fused electric leads much like Matthews and Phish. “Ammonium” is a Percy Hill standard featuring an alto sax solo from keyboardist Andy Gallagher. In “The Now” the quintet expresses altruism through a charged funk-rock and free improvisation among the five musicians.
Stand-up bassist Patrick’s sways, percussive backing beats and improvisation of drummer Dave and a layered trade-off between keys and Josh Pryor’s electric guitar give Katz a humble but escalating vocal range in addition to claps and vocal effects.
The Aaron Katz Band proves true and worth your attendance at area shows as they have progressed from playing at Husky Blues in Storrs and cramped bars to more moderate-sized venues like the Webster Theater in Hartford several months ago. While the band calls New Hampshire home Katz mentions that his mother is a Hamden native. Not long ago the band had got in touch with Unplugged’s executive producer Eric Marrapodi through the band’s manager Matthew Walt, who says “he had heard [of the show] through the grapevine, [while it is] something different and a great experience for the band.” Selections of the band’s set, among previous Quinnipiac Unplugged performers, will soon be released as a compilation recording.