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Artist of the day: Gentlemen Please

14

August

Gentlemen.please

St. Petersburg trio Gentlemen, Please meander like a space-age RV through beautiful, desolate and strange places, but with an eco-conscious approach -- they avoid clutter.

Vocalist Alastair St. Hill's searing falsetto becomes softened by gauzy effects and intertwinse with percussionist (and melodica player) Justin Grimshaw and bassist John Niles' skewed rhythms and other cool randomness.

“It’s been more of a priority — not all of the time — having more of a dynamic range,” St. Hill says. “I like off-kilter rhythms with hummable melodies; stuff that’s easy to sing along to, even if it has a certain amount of underlying complexity.”

You can hear Gentlemen, Please at 10 p.m. Friday with Therapeutic Chokehold and Philip Pietri and the Manatees at New World Brewery, Ybor City. Tickets are $6.

Click here to listen to the Gentlemen, Please song Sentries. And after the jump, check out Julie Garisto's full profile of this promising band of merry gentlemen -- including the age-old question, "Melodica vs. Keytar?"

Classy dudes: Alastair St. Hill, guitar and vocals; Justin Grimshaw, percussion and melodica; and John Niles, bass.

Formed: Spring 2009, in St. Petersburg.

Setting a mood: The trio meanders like a space age RV through beautiful, desolate and strange places, but with an eco-conscious approach — they avoid clutter. St. Hill’s searing falsetto becomes softened by gauzy effects and intertwines with Grimshaw and Niles’ skewed rhythms and other cool randomness.

“It’s been more of a priority — not all of the time — having more of a dynamic range,” St. Hill says. “I like off-kilter rhythms with hummable melodies; stuff that’s easy to sing along to, even if it has a certain amount of underlying complexity.”

Previously, other projects: The three musicians played the earlier part of the decade in a band called Private Transport. Niles moved away for a few years to Lakeland, and Grimshaw drummed for local jazz heavyweights David Pate and O Som Do Jazz. St. Hill, in the meantime, fronted St. Pete experimental pop band Incredible Crisis. He now also portions out his time with Life of Pi, which just released a new CD. St. Hill also co-DJs the WMNF FM-88.5 radio show Grand National Championships on Mondays at 11 p.m.

Representing the 727: Grimshaw lives in Treasure Island; St. Hill, Shore Acres, St. Petersburg, and Niles, Pasadena.

How they write songs: St. Hill says he writes all the lyrics and provides the main structure of the songs while Niles and Grimshaw help him massage them into place. In some instances, the tunes get a total makeover, such as Grimshaw’s executive decision to use the melodica, a modified harmonica with a small keyboard, as a substitute for drums in the tune Chapstick.

Keytar vs. melodica? Which is cooler? “Well, the keytar is in constant flux as far as street cred is concerned,” St. Hill responds. “I will say that right now the melodica is a little more rock. It’s like the stock market — you have to call in daily to find out. I’ll have to check with my broker.”

Speaking of stock brokers ... St. Hill says he always found humor in the cliches of business meetings. He liked “Gentlemen, please!” because of its frequent utterance in boardrooms.

How they practice: “We tend to do a lot of practicing through headphones,” St. Hill explains. “We fortunately have an electronic drum kit (a gift for Grimshaw from his wife). I live in a condo, so we can’t have the cops called on us.” (Here, jokes ensue about St. Hill’s condo: “Picture a high rise, smoking jackets on the rack for all; ascots necessary.”)

Word play: “John and Alastair both have a way with words,” Grimshaw says. “John sent me a text the other day that said, 'Lou let the Dobbs out.’ You have to keep up with these two. It’s like mental gymnastics. It’s fun. It hurts.”

On iTunes: Download the tunes Scores More and Sentries.

Hear them live: Friday 10 p.m. with Therapeutic Chokehold and Philip Pietri and the Manatees, New World Brewery, Ybor City. $6. (813) 248-4969. myspace.com/gentlemenplease

[Last modified: Wednesday, July 28, 2010 3:12pm]

    

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