Atman Roots

Hookah Bar and Lounge

September 08, 2004


Anthony Cuccia's percussion set-up was large at The Hookah Bar Wednesday night for his set with Atman Roots. Kids would have a ball on it. He had traditional congas, but he also used cowbells, blocks, a metal coil, and various whistles, shakers, and bicycle horns. I gave him a look of confusion and wonder after looking over his set, and he said, "Nobody said you couldn't do it." True.

Cuccia added personality and a sense of earthiness to the Soul Groove vibe of Atman Roots. The band was the brainchild of vocalist/guitarist Billy Franklin. Joining Franklin was bassist Travis Foster and drummer Quin Kirchner. The band had a distinct sound, but bits and pieces reminded me of The Roots and G. Love & Special Sauce. They kept to a straight or jump beat, and they didn't deviate unless they did an improv freak-out at a song's end.

The rock hard connection between Kirchner and Foster was the perfect backdrop for rhyming. In the middle of the set, Franklin and local rapper KOAN traded monologues over music. It was tight. This is what reminded me of The Roots. What reminded me of G. Love was Franklin's speak and staccato rhyming style. Also--the way he swayed with his guitar as he plucked light and vibrant notes.

For most of the set the band played instrumental grooves. They succeeded at throwing in a touch of reggae, as well.
The band was mellow and not there to bring a ruckus. But, I'd still like to see them in a less uptight and bigger room to know if they would break out of their skins and party.

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