A night of nonstop music at Nectar’s

In a city awash with instrumental, jam and jazz ensembles, local band Japhy Ryder touches on all, without allowing themselves to be labeled by any.  Their show at Nectars on Saturday, Jan. 22nd, exemplified their genre-breaking style. Japhy Ryder’s music has a dance-ability hard to find amongst groups of its ilk, partially thanks to the triple threat of Jason Thime, Mat Deluca and Joshua Pfeil all on an ever-changing variety of percussion instruments.  “Whether you think you want to or not, that rhythm will make you dance,” Senior Kim Hackett said. Along with the trio of furious drumming, comes the powerful bass of Patrick Ormiston, laying the framework for Zack duPont ‘s dense but melodic guitar work. It is apparent on stage that these musicians, all with distinct styles of their own, have great respect for one another. “Will Andrews on the trumpet, writin’ all this beautiful music for y’all,” duPont said.  “We are merely pawns on a chessboard.” As well as playing the trumpet and masterminding their set list, Andrews also utilizes a synthesizer throughout the show, putting a rarely-heard twist on instrumental rock. Japhy Ryder’s bill was shared with UVM’s own Potbelly as an opening act, getting the crowd warmed up with their unique take on improvisational jazz.  DJ Wyllys filled out the bill, spinning electronic music between sets, assuring the crowd stayed dancing throughout the show. Though Japhy Ryder’s often long, slow-building songs do lend themselves to the jam band title, it is apparen  from the tight flow and intense concentration of every band member that they are playing to a specific formula. The percussionists alone work in near-perfect unison at all times to keep the heavy, rolling beats coming smoothly.  The crowd may not have been as packed on Saturday as Nectar’s often can be on the weekend, but those in attendance showed enough energy and groove to fill the floor. Fluidly incorporating slow jazzy build-ups, epic guitar jams, quick afro-beat rhythms and more, Ryder kept the crowd happily guessing all night. From build-up to breakdown, Japhy Ryder got the audience smiling and dancing, and if that’s not the sign of a good show, I cannot tell you what is.