Robo-France 29, an Albany-based experimental jam jam-band, has been active in the Capital Region for the past few years and gained a devoted following. And, it's one starting to grow in the Plattsburgh area.
The band, which has been around since 2007, consists of Russ Brady on lead guitar; Josh Breden on guitar, harmonica and vocals; Nick Carrara on drums and vocals; and Justin Schultz on bass, vocals and megaphone. Each has been having fun challenging the rules of the traditional jam-band sound, said Schultz, incorporating influences of classic rock, alternative, punk, and Americana.
"Each member of the band brings something different to the table," said Schultz.
Robo-France 29 first got a taste of Plattsburgh when Schultz came here to study history at the State University of New York at Plattsburgh. Rather than disband when Schultz moved here, the band stayed together and Schultz splits his free time between here and Albany, practicing, recording and performing shows with the band.
"We had developed a strong catalog of original and cover songs, and decided continue forward with the band, despite the 150 miles that separates us," said Schultz. "I realized pretty quickly after moving here that there is a strong and hungry music scene. We played Plattsburgh for the first time with the Shameless Strangers in December and had a blast. You could really tell that both the bands and the attendees had a lot of fun."
Though the band has shared its billing with many popular national and regional touring acts, the guys enjoy playing smaller venues like ones in Plattsburgh where they can really interact with the crowds.
"The people are great here, they really seem to enjoy live music, which is awesome," said Schultz. "Curious and energetic crowds make Plattsburgh a great place for upstate bands to play."
The origin of the band's interesting name comes from the cult favorite Cartoon Network show "Aqua Teen Hunger Force." Schultz said a character on the show was talking about the future of France and how it will be named "Robo-France 29."
"I thought it was a great name for a band," he said. "We were using various monikers each week, so I suggested Robo-France 29 to the band and we rolled with it."
Robo-France 29 is now finishing up a string of spring shows, which will include a gig with Greg Ginn with the band Black Flag in Albany. Ginn was ranked among the top 100 guitarists of all time by Rolling Stone Magazine.
"We played with Greg last year and it was truly an honor to share the bill with a bona-fide rock legend," said Schultz.
The band is also in the process of getting its summer schedule together, which includes wanting to play more shows in Plattsburgh.
"We've only played the Monopole so far, but we're looking to branch out and play other venues in the area," said Schultz.
(Editor's Note: Robo-France 29 will be performing this Friday, April 2, at the Monopole on Protection Avenue, sharing the bill with local favorite Shameless Strangers. The show will begin at 10 p.m. Check out their MySpace page, www.myspace.com/robofrance, for a list of their upcoming shows and keep an eye on the what's happenin' section of the 'burgh!)