Norwich, Connecticut jam band Fleet have a way of keeping things in sync. Vocalist and guitarist Danny Fleet leads guitarist Marcus Dipollina, bassist Noah Greenleaf, keyboardist Noah Feldman, saxophonist Jerome King and drummer Josh Hausman into a funky blues voyage. It’s groovy music that gets people dancing while everyone in the band feeds off of it. Folks will get to experience this at the Knickerbocker Music Center in Westerly tomorrow night. New London, Connecticut roots rock act Sweet Mercy will be opening up the show.
Fleet, Feldman and I had a conversation ahead of the show about being a band with a lot of members, playing in different places, what they like about the Knickerbocker and working on new material.
Rob Duguay: Fleet is a sextet, so are there any difficulties that come with getting everyone together either to practice or to play a show?
Danny Fleet: It’s definitely tough sometimes when it comes to getting everybody together. We’re kind of a chameleon band, so we’ll sometimes play as a five-piece or a four-piece or we’ll even break it down to a more acoustic format if the situation requires it. It’s hard to get everybody on the same schedule but for the big events we always like to have everybody there.
Noah Feldman: I’m a full-time college student on the other side of Connecticut so more often than not it’s the five of them and I’ll take whatever rehearsals I can before a big gig. I’m just not usually there for the day to day stuff.
RD: When it comes to songwriting, Jerome is on the sax and Noah you play on the keys. How much expansiveness is there when it comes to creating music with these two instruments involved?
DF: We just started to explore more collaborative writing. On our first record I did a majority of the writing but in regard to having those two parts involved, we’ll have certain sections that can sound better with a sax. Jerome will lay that down and then come back into something a bit more complex.
NF: A lot of our songs are written either by Danny on an acoustic guitar or collaboratively with Marcus or Noah. The keyboards and the sax are added later so it is more about seeing where they fit rather than initially including them in the process.
RD: You guys have played The Knickerbocker before, so what do you guys enjoy about playing there? From both your points of view, does the venue have something to offer that other venues in the area don’t have?
DF: It’s obviously a legendary spot. As a working band, we’ve had to fit ourselves in some tight corners so actually having a legit stage to perform on is always nice. They always do a really good job with doing sound and with it being in Westerly there’s a certain fan base that will come out to see us as opposed to playing in Connecticut.
NF: In addition to them having so many legacy acts like Albert Collins and all kinds of incredible blues and rock musicians, they also have cool contemporary acts too. Jon Batiste played there recently so to see that happening now is awesome. I also appreciate that they have a great backline there, not a lot of venues have a grand piano and a Hammond organ. To have such a beautiful stage with a backline like that while also being in downtown Westerly, which is such a gorgeous area, it’s always a joy to play there.
RD: I’ve been there before, it’s a really cool room with great sound. You’ve also performed at art galleries like Hygienic Art in New London and breweries like Sons Of Liberty Beer & Spirits Company in Wakefield. Is there anything in particular about those environments that stick out to the both of you?
NF: As far as Hygienic goes, they actually have a massive outdoor amphitheater. We’ve played there a couple times, which is actually closer to playing at The Knickerbocker than playing at an art gallery. We’ve also played in their art gallery and it’s an interesting room with it being small but also full of creative energy. They’re also constantly moving artist displays in and out so to me it’s inspiring to be around that constantly flowing creative environment. As far as breweries go, I’ve always found those places to have the best crowds.
We’ve also played at the Revival Brewing Company in Cranston and they have an awesome audience there. It seems that people who go out to breweries are really receptive to live music in a way that people going out to restaurants are not.
RD: What can we expect from Fleet later on this year?
NF: We have some new music in the works but we put out an album in 2018 called “Between Peace & Pressure” and those songs are still fairly fresh for us. That record still has some life in it but we’ll have some new material coming out sometime in the future.