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Dave Hillyard and the Rocksteady 7,
and the Victory Rice Octet
December 2, 2001
Knitting Factory
New York City, NY

by Alex Rud
December 5, 2001

The show started unbelievably late, but I had to come down there, because I love both bands and they don't play many shows recently. The crowd was surprisingly decent, not too big or small, which made it feel like a home-y environment.

It took Victor Rice and his crew a while to actually play, because they got to the club a bit late. I noticed right away that they had special guests with them: Larry McDonnald on percussion, and Bufford O' Sullivan on Trombone, who is one of my favorite trombone players around today. The addition of the two musicians added even more flavor into this already spicy blend of ska, jazz, reggae sound.

The crowd loved it. All the ladies in the house were dancing and shaking their asses. The fellows were getting down themselves. The set had a really great vibe. I especially enjoyed the fact that the crowd cheered the band on each time one of the band members pulled of a solo. They are talented musicians and they deserve all the positive feedback in the world.

During the middle of Victor Rice Octet's set, another special guest appeared on stage. It was none other than Caz from the Checkered Cabs. I absolutely love Caz's voice. It's so sweet and it just melts your heart when you hear it. Her appearance was the icing on the cake.

Dave Hillyard and the Rocksteady 7 came next. I have not seen these guys in such a long time, so I was very happy to get a chance to finally see them doing their thing.

Rocksteady 7 didn't wait long to get things on the way. The band's sound was really tight. Dave is such an amazing sax played. In fact, all the members are just really amazing in their instruments. I've had their CD in my rotation for the longest time, and I was really happy to see them play most of the songs live.

Vig Regguerro was decked out in a Navy-type uniform, all but the bell-bottoms. He looked like he was kicked out of the Navy for refusing to shave them sideburns, or kicked out of the Village People for having artistic differences. He always wears some kind of a suit on stage. I should ask him about this sometime. Dave was making really cheesy, but funny comments on stage, about, god knows what.

The band played all my favorite songs like: "Hillyard Street," "Playtime," "Peace," a Bob Marley tune and much, much more. The highlight of the set was when the band played "The Fool," a song that I didn't think they would play. Since Alex and Greg (Hepcat) were not around anywhere within 3000 miles, Dave decided to do his own vocals on the song. I never actually heard Dave sing, but I think that he should defiantly do more singing on his future releases.

The show went great. The bands gave it their all and everyone was happy. I love this music. It is so stripped down and not glossy. I like the fact that it's not hindered by the mainstream and remains in its true form.

As I was leaving the show, I found out that someone threw something into the door of the Knitting Factory, thus shattering all the glass. We had to leave through the side entrance. This news was a sad ending to an otherwise perfect night.

I really hate people who do that. Then they wonder why there are no places to hold shows. They should be thankful that Knitting Factory books such great, all ages, shows. The atmosphere of KF is awesome. There are no stupid bouncers or anything other bullshit like that. It is just a shame that some asshole had to defile the club like that. I hope the person gets what's coming to him.

Alex Rud is a Staff Writer. Contact him at arud@rockzone.com.

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