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Fresh Hops / Press

“The energy Fresh Hops brings at a performance level is unbelievable, leaving any crowd (small or large) with a great sense of satisfaction.”

“Fresh Hops, the six piece band out of the Tri-town Indiana area smacked everyone in the face with an uptempo instrumental opener called “Pleaidian Love Song No. 3 (BirdBath)”. Violinist Stephan Cook and Guitarist Joe Marcinek traded the first solos of the night before letting Adam Turman on Saxophone strut his stuff. Ian Gill on 7-string bass lent vocals to “Heart Under Ground” which featured a Latin beat that reminded me of Rusted Root. Not many bassists showcase the 7-string, but Gill’s deft command of it was top notch and never seemed forced. With its tongue twisting title, “Grammatically Chromatic” led with a Jimi Hendrix-inspired riff that also wiggled its way into some pretty big guitar solos from Marcinek and Guitarist Matt VanVlymen. It ended with something delightfully Chicago when Cook yelled out “Polish Sausage” into the mic. The ensuing improvisation grabbed more than my attention and complemented the gypsy jazz number’s breakneck pace.”

“Many of the bands I see have a unique style– it’s a major motivation for wanting to see them. But Fresh Hops has a combination of styles that literally no one else I’ve seen possesses. I always say wildly individual bands like Rubblebucket and Snarky Puppy are unclassifiable, which is a testament to their innovative sound. While I consider Fresh Hops to be in the same vain as those bands, their sound is substantially more classifiable, but in the uber geeky, genre fusion sense. These guys are some sort of jam-funk / jazz-grass hybrid, capable of cooking up a barnstorm while remaining very flexible & versatile with their compositions. At times they can get very bluegrassy, like they did with “Coal Mines of Tupelo County.” At other times they go to the other end of their spectrum, sounding very prog rockish, and almost orchestral with their strong combination of strings, keys, and horns like during “Aldez.””

“I was shocked that I had never heard of them due to their serious instrumental talent and ability to read each other on stage-- knowing when to break and when to play solo. They are not amateurs. I was incredibly relieved and genuinely impressed having walked into a venue without knowing anything about the band. I was even more shocked that they weren’t playing a bigger venue with a larger crowd. These guys deserve it. Their sound is very original and blends some of my favorite genres, including my weakness for the saxophone. I can imagine them being a perfect band for a day set at any outdoor music festival. Everyone at this performance was truly happy to be there, band and staff included. They were very genuine and modest, just there to have fun. You could tell by the smiles they exchanged to each other on stage that they weren’t there for just business. It was playtime. I very much look forward to more of their performances in the future.”

“I can imagine some jambands looking to spice things up by haphazardly throwing a few unique instruments in the mix. The saxophone is a nice place to turn, and many bands have done this well. But a saxophone and a fiddle? Now that's an interesting combo. But not only is it interesting, it works phenomenally well for this band. It's extremely rare to find the fiddle in such a groovy sound but these guys have made it a great thing. The hand drumming from Mikey Clark really stood out to me throughout the show. His efforts, combined with the stout basslines from David Van Vlymen, laid the funky underbelly for the guitars, sax, and fiddle to jam over. I enjoyed just about everything about this hour-long set. But I think what really got me were the fiddle-saxophone harmonies; I simply haven't heard anything like that anywhere else. These guys are definitely making moves in the Midwest.”

“SouthSide suggests checking out the lively funk-tastic sounds and rhythmic groove of Fresh Hops. She enjoyed this band's unique twist on the Jazz-Blues combination having lots of soul which included one heck of a rhythm section (percussions, keyboards and saxophone) and violin. This string instrument (the star attraction of Fresh Hops, in SouthSide's opinion) provided some cool breeze to this band's hot groove while the keyboards kept the edgy three-guitar sound mellow but energetic. The music itself was breathtaking especially during classical-inspired song done in a waltz tempo yet performed with a modern neo-Jazz tone. It was also passionate with Fresh's gradual crescendo rises within the tempo and rhythms ...and coupled with the lighting fx - the stage seemed to be pulsating at the same speed and direction of the music. Visit Fresh Hops at http://www.myspace.com/freshhops for more information about this band and its music.”

“Fresh Hops is a culmination of 7 musicians, who have a passion for music. They all come from different backgrounds. This talented group takes their own blend of music and traditions of each instrument and fuses it with what they are interested in. Joe Marcinek says, “This is why you can hear a bluegrass fiddle breakdown in the middle of a modal jazz waltz tune that is inspired by Zelda.” Fresh Hops plays at venues like these because it is comfortable. Marcinek says, “The connection with the audience is paramount.” They like playing at venues that they could see themselves hanging out at: places that put music first and make sure everybody is treated equally with respect. Marcinek says his favorite part of being in a band is the sense of community that it brings out. You truly do feel a part of something and being alive in the moment. Meeting different people that all have this similar ethos about life. ”

“First up was Fresh Hops. When they started there was maybe 20 people in the room, and most of those were bands & other staff. This was a bummer because the Hops were pretty damn good. The main distinction of this band is that they feature a fiddle (Stephan Cook) to accompany their jammy sound. At times I felt like the softer sound of the fiddle clashed with the heavier jams of the rest of the band, making the entirety of the sound lacking a bit. But this was only in sporadic patches. Most of the time they were on point and had me engaged. I was especially impressed with the hand drumming that was a constant force driving through the songs. At their peak, the fiddle blended in perfectly --often harmonizing with the guitars-- and it reminded me a bit of Cornmeal's psychedelic bluegrass attitude. The final song was a real ripper. I liked what I heard from these guys and I'm looking forward to seeing them again.”