Guavatron play Voltaire

Published on June 3rd, 2018

Guavatron by Sarah Beth Smith

Guava: a tasty fruit staple of many tropical diets. “Tron,” a 1982 Disney foray into sci-fi action-adventure and imminent human-computer conflict. Guavatron: a West Palm Beach musical foursome with a perfectly portmanteau’d name.

Guavatron arrives like a Voltron of the subtropics, greater than — and greater for — the sum of its organic and digital parts. “We have a wide variety of musical influences ranging from jazz to trance,” keyboardist Roddy Hansen tells PureHoney. That range “gives us a lot to work with,” says Hansen, “as any theme or genre is open to explore.”

Guavatron has leveraged a devoted local following into a steady touring presence across the U.S. southeast. The band deploys itself pop-up style at regional festivals and has landed high-profile opening slots for the likes of Perpetual Groove and The Heavy Pets.

With Hansen, Conor Crookham on bass, Adonis Frangiskakis on guitar and vocals, and Casey Luden on drums, Guavatron approaches the jam-band manual as a kind of manifesto of techno-necromancy. Call it the Book of the (Grateful) Dead: Guavatron is channeling the more experimental moments of Hawkwind via the long-play stamina of the aforementioned Dead, and Phish, with the proper rock frying of the Allman Brothers and the Disco Biscuits.

Listen closely, and you might even pick up a trace of Robert Fripp and Adrian Belew-period King Crimson flashing through Guavatron’s neural net. (There’s always been space for prog impulses in the archetypal jam band nervous system, and vice versa, whatever differences exist between their subcultures.)

An assemblage of rock, funk, electronic and much more, Guavatron in its Facebook bio floats the possibility of the band as “a transforming mechanized battle robot from another planet.” But its output is mellifluous and genuine — not robotic in the least if by “robotic” one means stiff, programmed, lacking in spontaneity. A bucket of bolts, this ain’t.

“Improvisation is the backbone to our band, it gives us an opportunity to be free and create,” says Hansen. “Improvisation also gives us a chance to connect with the listener and build something new between us and them. There’s a sense of comfort when we are in a jam.”

Guavatron performs June 14 at Voltaire in West Palm Beach.  ~ Abel Folgar

Clip to Evernote