Band of the Week: Smooth Antics
By Mitchell Parrish
First off, great name. You can’t argue with that. An often underrated aspect of music, band names are an important part of a band’s appeal, and ultimately, success. If the name sucks, it doesn’t matter how good the band is. Chances are, you don’t care. You won’t go. However, that’s not the case for these guys. Smooth Antics is one of those bands with a killer name and an equally (and fittingly) killer sound, particularly live. Their crafty blend of hip-hop, soul, funk, and jazz will have you dancing for days, if not weeks.
As a resident of the Burlington area, I have been fortunate enough to catch Smooth Antics on numerous occasions over the past year. I’ve seen them at local bars. I’ve seen them house parties. I’ve seen them at Higher Ground. I’ve seen them at farmer’s markets. The reason why I keep seeing them? They never disappoint.
You can bring anyone to see and they will have a great time. I’ve seen it happen a lot. Here’s how it works: You tell you crew, “Hey, so we’re going see Smooth Antics tonight.” Someone responds, “Who?” And you say, “Oh, this dope Burlington-based band. It’s like funky soul jazz. You’ll dig it.” And they say, “Ok. Sounds good to me. Also, sweet band name.” As you approach the venue, you and your crew hear their contagious grooves. Everyone starts smiling and doing that little side to side hip move that white people in Vermont do. Then, all of a sudden, you lose yourself in the music. The moment. You better never let it go.
Their “booty-shaking” sound takes over and it becomes all about the groove.That, and Steph Heaghney, the vocalist. She is something special. Steph swoons in and out of carefully arranged sections with well crafted, melodious lyrical parts. She has such a demanding stage presence, you can’t take your eyes off her. Also worth mentioning is drummer Jake Mayers. He is a beast. I really enjoy watching him lock in with bassist Mike Dondero as the band meanders from arrangement to jam. The horn section, comprised of Brian Miller (Sax) Nicco Osbourne (Trumpet + Vocals), takes their sound to another gear.
After somewhat of a hiatus this summer, the band has returned to the area and played a couple shows. It’s unclear what their future holds– fingers crossed that they keep playing shows!
Members: Steph Heaghney (Vocals) Mike Dondero (Bass + Vocals) Derek Rice (Keys) Chris Jordan (Guitar) Jake Mayers (Drums) Brian Miller (Sax) Nicco Osbourne (Trumpet + Vocals)