For the second year in a row, the local band played a matinee performance at Pastramikah, the Double Down’s annual pastrami-themed holiday celebration. Getting in the spirit of the season, the five-piece outfit, which has been blasting mashed-up jazz and punk classic for 15 years, altered the names of its songs to fit the holiday. Opener “Pastrami Hugger” was a funky, bluesy indicator of the fun to come. But there was also “Take Pastrami” (originally “Take Five” by the Dave Brubreck Quartet) and “Sandwich Crusher” (originally “The Crusher” by the Atlantics).
The Nines added technical twists to a variety of old-time classics, creating something refreshing but true to its roots. The whirling guitars of Willie Faris and Mike Powers powered the tunes, which were being recorded for a potential live album. Brahim Rouas’ heavy drumming was the perfect enhancement to Gary Wright’s trippy keyboard style. And scratchy-voiced Rob Ruckus kept the set cruising along with his friendly banter and intricate bass lines, which included using his forearm as a slide.
Their lineup is comprised of guys who play in a variety of different bands, some of which also include more than one member of the Nines. This sonic diversity allows them to provide many tasty moments—and that’s not even including the huge chunk of pastrami that was on hand for the festivities.