When drummer PJ Snacks—as he likes to be called—followed a girl across the country from New York to Portland, Ore., his friends and soon-to-be bandmates—Eddie Abadi, Jeff Sechs and Steve Swatkins—were not long behind.
In Portland, the quartet found a scene conducive not only to music in general, but to their brand of music in particular: a blend of hip-hop and '70s R&B and soul music that they aptly describe as "neo-soul groove." Swatkins said that when the Gentlemen first started thinking about what kind of music to make, they didn't really think about it much at all. In their mid-20s now, they grew up listening to hip-hop, gravitating toward bands like Tribe Called Quest and De La Soul. Plus, they were all fans of Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye, so the framework for the kind of music the four of them would create together was already there. Swatkins said in the year they've been performing in and around Portland, they've earned a base of fans who are excited to have discovered a band they can dance to. As well as offering a different, and totally danceable sound, the band is interesting to watch: Snacks on drums, Abadi on guitar, and Sechs and Swatkins act as co-lead vocalists and both also play keyboards and left-handed bass. With the help of other Portland musicians including fellow funksters Intervision (to which Swatkins says they owe a huge debt of gratitude), their fans and their groovy sound, The Excellent Gentlemen are becoming an excellent bet.
Feb 2., $5, 9:30 p.m., Reef, 105 S. 6th St., 208-287-9200, ReefBoise.com.