The Main Squeeze takes Hot Summer Nights stage in Vail
If you go …
What: The Main Squeeze performs as part of Hot Summer Nights.
When: Tuesday, July 17. Concert starts at 6:30 p.m. Gates open at 5:30 p.m.
Where: Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater, Vail.
More information: Visit www.grfavail.com.
Hot Summer Nights schedule:
July 24: Andy Frasco
Aug. 14: Band of Heathens
Aug. 21: Robert Randolph
Aug. 28: Queen Nation
*Schedule subject to change
Many bands start out playing cover songs. For the Main Squeeze, playing covers was a way for the band members to learn about everyone’s musical tastes and get to know each other through music.
“We just started playing what we knew, which was what our influences were,” said Ben “Smiley” Silverstein, keyboardist for the Main Squeeze. “This made for a really diverse repertoire of songs. Within the first five or six months, we started to write our own songs and incorporate them into our set.”
Silverstein now describes the band’s sound as “rock ’n’ roll with a hint of funk,” as the group cites everything from Led Zeppelin to Stevie Wonder as inspirations.
The Main Squeeze will perform as part of the free Hot Summer Nights concert series at the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater in Vail on Tuesday, July 17.
Help from a top dog
Currently based in Los Angeles, the Main Squeeze formed in the college town of Bloomington, Indiana, in 2010.
After paying their dues on the road and honing their skills as a live act, the group caught the attention of Randy Jackson, famed record producer and former judge on “American Idol.” Jackson was a big supporter of the Main Squeeze early on and even produced its second full-length album, “Mind Your Head,” in 2015. Silverstein said Jackson helped the band transition from being a seasoned live band to writing better songs in the studio.
“(Randy) was one of the key people to show us how important a song can really be in the writing process,” Silverstein said. “Before we were working with him, we were a live band, we were playing 150 shows a year. We know how to jam the songs really well and the parts feel good live. When we started working with him, the important aspects of the song came through in the studio … (We learned) how to make a song feel good the first time you hear it from the studio aspect.”
Music that ‘just makes you want to move’
As part of the current funk revival, the Main Squeeze is attempting to infuse their classic funk influences with a more modern feel.
“Funk is very old school, but you can tell when someone is influenced by it in this new generation,” Silverstein said. “To me, funk is just about something that makes you move. It doesn’t necessarily have to be funk music, just something that makes you want to move, makes you want to get up and dance, have a good time and let go of your worries. The main pioneers of funk, like James Brown and Tower of Power, had those elements in their music that we try to incorporate.”
‘Head, heart and body’
For the group’s upcoming Hot Summer Nights show, it won’t be hard for concertgoers to find the funk and feel the groove while the Main Squeeze plays an upbeat and energetic live set.
Silverstein said the band appeals to your “head, heart and body,” in that their music is for people who appreciate high-quality musicianship and want to “let loose and come to the groove.” And of course, it all “comes from the heart,” he said.