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February 1, 2005

Ferdinand Fox breezes through the Winds Café with sonic sweetness

A recent Sunday venture to Logan Square on the city's north side was well worth the effort. The Winds Café (2657 North Kedzie) hosted local band Ferdinand Fox for an hour and a half of musical entertainment. Everything came together that night for the Fox. An energized audience and band connected, new songs debuted. It was an epic event.

Nick Davio (vocal/keyboard), Rich Clark (guitar), Charles Malave (bass/vocal), Zack Novick (drums), and Van Glover (vocal/auxiliary everything) are an adventurous group. Ferdinand Fox draws from rock, blues, funk, and even bluegrass to create a sound all their own. Their program keeps the audience on tenterhooks, progressing through the show with thick bass lines, seductive ballads, and playful guitar riffs.

With an extensive repertoire of original music and a sense of purpose, the ingenuity of Ferdinand Fox is indeed unique. As Malave explains, "[We] strive to develop. There is no end. I want to attain a better understanding of music, people, and how they relate."

On January 23, Ferdinand Fox fed off the crowd's excitement, creating an energy that is uncommon at such shows. When asked about his favorite part of the performance, Malave replied, "Audience response, 100 percent." The band's stage presence, combined with the quality of their music, was both entertaining and musically exciting. They played fan favorites like "The Grouch," "Food Rhyme," and "Save a Lung," songs that have nothing in common but their sheer intensity. Each piece elicited an overwhelming crowd reaction.

"We collaborate creatively as friends and ultimately, that's why we love music," added Novick, the drummer. The synergy of the group is apparent and, having attended their concerts for quite some time, it is not stretching the truth to say that each show is better than the last.

At the Winds Café that Sunday, Ferdinand Fox introduced some new, more experimental material. Immediately before the debut of "Roboticus," the members looked at each other and took a collective deep breath, as if to brace themselves. It was the audience who should have braced.

An attempt to characterize their music that night would be obliged to make reference to Tortoise, Queen, and Ravel, even the Beatles and Radiohead. But you can decide for yourself with their debut album A Peppermint Gun that Shoots Rays of Hope, which doesn't contain their newest material but certainly gives a flavor of the band's music.

I'm anxious to see where the band's momentum has taken them since the Winds Café. Their next appearance is on Saturday, February 12 at Big Horse in Wicker Park. The group will play the following Friday, February 18 at Goose Island in Wrigleyville, which is a great place for some good beer and good music. They are also performing a St. Patrick's Day Event, March 17 at the Elbo Room at Lincoln and Diversey. Music and information about the band can be found at their website, www.ferdinandfox.com. I highly recommend a visit to their website and a trip to see them play on the North Side.