Playing the Draw
Forrest Day packs Live with energy every time.
Thursday, December 4, 2008
Painter Neal Barbosa leaps around between sloshing blue and red paint on a canvas. While nimbly rapping lyrics, frontman Forrest Day moves back and forth like he’s on invisible roller skates. Tenor saxophonist Dave Bullers and baritone saxman Dave Eaton dance in unison like the horn section in an old Motown group between blasts that complete the band’s full sound.
When Forrest Day takes the stage, the group is as active as their lively fans. At the recent BaRock the Peninsula! concert at the Monterey Fairgrounds, it took the eight-piece Bay Area outfit to finally get a sluggish crowd– which hadn’t stirred much through the first handful of acts– moving. In response to the painting, rapping and horn-playing during the band’s “Hyperactive,” which sounded like Cake with some Middle Eastern spice, an audience of about 150 began hopping around to the powerful beat.
Forrest Day, which includes Monterey natives Eaton and Jasper Skydecker on drums, has performed at Monterey Live five times over the last year. They always get a wildly enthusiastic response from local audiences. “They are definitely the most attended shows,” says the club’s booking coordinator Hattie Catania. “They have madly broken attendance records.”
Day says the band’s shows in Monterey are some of their best. “The crowd is ridiculous,” he says. “Monterey is our home away from home.”
Based in San Francisco, the 2-year-old group has made impressive inroads in the Bay Area club scene. At first, they were performing at tiny venues like the 60-person-capacity El Rio. A few months ago, the outfit headlined at The Independent, which can hold up to 500. “It was one of the most memorable nights of my life,” Day says.
Before putting together his latest band, Day was in a Bay Area reggae rock group called View From Here. “After View From Here, I was feeling this hip-hop bug under my skin,” Day says.
The songwriter combined hip-hop with the sound of View From Here to create his latest project. Though Day says the band has 25 songs, the group has only put out a five-song EP so far. They are currently working on a new CD to be released this upcoming spring.
“Lately, I’ve been writing about what I would be passionate about in a conversation,” Day says.
While Forrest Day has achieved considerable success in their relatively short musical career, the group’s leader has realistic goals. “We hope to ride in style in a nice bus and play nice clubs,” he says. “I’m not looking for five-star hotels and arenas.”
Forrest Day play 9:30pm Saturday, Dec. 6, at Monterey Live, 414 Alvarado St., Monterey. $10/advance; $12/day of. 373-5483. www.montereylive.com