By Craig Davis, Craigslegz.com
BOCA RATON – It’s a Tuesday at the Funky Biscuit and my thoughts are on the vagaries of talent.
Watching a band called The Flyers take a week night in Boca Raton to surprising heights I can’t help thinking, these guys should be famous. The same can be said most any night at this cozy venue that serves up a treasure trove of local and national talent six or seven nights a week (selected Sundays) at a reasonable price.
In this case, it was only $10 to get in, the place is half full, and this South Florida trio has the place rocking from the start, infusing familiar tunes with their own distinctive touch and energy.
Then, midway through the first set, they show me something I haven’t seen before. Between songs, Patrick Farinas, the multi-talented lead singer and guitarist, calls out, “Everybody switch.”
In The Flyers’ version of the Chinese fire drill, Farinas sets down his guitar and moves to the drums, while drummer Joe Beard takes the bass from Jordan Richards, who picks up the guitar and takes up the position as front man.
Later I learn from an online bio of the group that they refer to this onstage audible as a Jimi Hendrix Fire Drill, and it is a Flyers specialty. Before wrapping up a hard-driving three-hour show, each member of the group will take a turn at every position, and do so with distinction.
Consider how ridiculous prices for big-name acts have turned going to a concert into a serious investment. So why submit to that when a group like The Flyers provides so much entertainment for about the cost of a TicketMaster service charge?
You can come away from most any night watching most any act at the Biscuit feeling the same way. And you can enjoy a good meal while there, with or without a fresh funky biscuit.
The Flyers were definitely a revelation with their versatility, ability and passionate musicianship. They play an array of rock and blues, including and excelling at covers not often heard. Most enjoyable was the Beatles’ Medley from Side 2 of Abbey Road.
Farinas is a remakable talent whether singing or playing any and all instruments at his disposal. That includes frequently playing the guitar and electric organ simultaneously.
He rocked a Hendrix guitar solo, playing with his teeth, behind his back and even swung the guitar over and played it lefty in tribute to the legend himself. He mimicked James Brown on vocals, and conjured a Led Zep drum solo that did John Bonham proud.
“How do you get to be that good?” my wife, Fran, wondered.
I think the answer is through starting at an early age and playing constantly. Farinas’ bio on the band site lists his age as 28 and that he has been performing since 13. It’s also in his blood. His father Tony, who took the bass for a couple songs, is a Julliard-trained musician.
Likewise, Beard has been studying since age 7 and started playing professionally with his father and brother since he was 12. A stalwart on the drums, he showed his depth in taking lead guitar and vocals on Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick in the Wall” and Clapton’s “Crossroads.”
Richards has followed their example, a teen prodigy who began studying under Farinas when he was 11. The kid is already an accomplished and versatile talent in his own right.
Although they mainly played covers, The Flyers have two albums of originals out, which I intend to sample.
But I’m more eager to experience their next Jimi Hendrix Fire Drill at the Funky Biscuit. It’s more fun than you’d expect from a Tuesday night in Boca Raton.