Still Sounding Sweet at the bergenPAC
A Feature Article by Rich and Laura Lynch

The Vanilla Fudge is a flavorful musical blend of hard rock and psychedelica. From 1966 through 1969 they released five albums before disbanding in 1970. Their biggest hit was a cover of "You Keep Me Hangin' On". Vanilla Fudge has reunited over the years in various configurations. In 2013, three of the four original members are touring and they played a sweet show at the bergenPAC in Englewood, New Jersey on June 6, 2013.

The Vanilla Fudge - Still Sounding Sweet at the bergenPAC
The legendary Vanilla Fudge on stage in Englewood, New Jersey.

The stage set up was straight forward with a black curtain behind Carmine's double bass drum kit along with some other gear. Lights were the main effect but Vanilla Fudge did not need bells and whistles as they relied on their solid musicianship to engage their fans. Vanilla Fudge also donated part of the proceeds from Thursday's concert to the music education programs at the bergenPAC.

"Good evening, how you doing and thank you for coming," greeted the group. Vanilla Fudge opened with "Ticket To Ride". Their trip was heavier than The Beatles' original with Mark on the keys adding an array of different elements to the song. The drums were also powerful in the piece demonstrating how the band tastefully blends hard rock with 60's pop.

They stated that they would be playing most of their debut, self-titled album. Their spin on Curtis Mayfield's "People Get Ready" was daunting in spots yet soulful as they slowed the pace to harmonize. Vanilla Fudge rocked hard on the 60's classic "She's Not There".

"Take Me For A Little While" which had been a top 30 hit for the group was energized with expansive instrumentation melding into tricky tempos. This was a crowd pleaser with fans clapping and singing along.

"I love this one," stated Appice before they performed their harrowing and haunting version of "Eleanor Rigby". Next was a trio of tunes that flowed from the "The Break Song" into "Good Good Livin' " before the band casted their own unique spell on Donovan's "Season of the Witch". The triad showcased intense interplay, atmospheric effects and spinning lights.

Mentioning the second time that they were on the Ed Sullivan Show, Vanilla Fudge played a song that was performed on the TV program. "Shotgun" was smoking and seamlessly meandered in and out of Greensleeves before Carmine's dynamic drum solo with Appice encouraging the audience to clap along.

The band returned and said that they would be at the merchandise table after the show to say hi and sign things. They also talked about doing a cover record of Led Zeppelin songs that lead into "Dazed and Confused". Their take was decadent like a dark piece of fudge.

They closed the set with their big sounding version of "You Keep Me Hangin' On". They added their own ingredients of might and musicianship to the Motown hit. "Can't Do That" closed the concert on a feisty and fun note.

The Vanilla Fudge concert was a nod to the band's past but The Great Fraud who opened for them was in the present. Most of their set showcased songs from their 2013 release Brass Balloon. The Great Fraud's sound was a mix of styles that blended old and new school blues.

The Vanilla Fudge - Still Sounding Sweet at the bergenPAC
Vaninlla Fudge are (clockwise from top left) Carmine Appice, Vince Martell, Pete Bremy and Vince Martell.

The Great Fraud had an energized stage presence and their guitarist Joe Marrero had flashy moves such as playing behind his head and with his teeth. Their set was up-tempo and their songs were engaging with catchy hooks.

"Let's Go Out and Play" had a playful mood with the drum punctuating the swinging swagger of the tune. "Mystery Man" was mesmerizing and "Roll Down" was a robust rocker. The blues rock blend that The Great Fraud presented was well received by Fudge fans and they are rightly reaching for a brass ring with Brass Balloon.

The bergenPAC continues to hosts a wide range of acts such as the Vanilla Fudge. The venue is centrally located in downtown Englewood and is near restaurants and shops. The bergenPAC supports education and features a wide range of events. Upcoming concerts at the theater include Buddy Guy, Awesome 80's, Sweet, Rick Springfield, Melissa Etheridge, Happy Together, Great White, Wynonna, Todd Rundgren, George Thorogood, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Cheap Trick, The Water Boys and Randy Travis. Please check for a complete list of their events.

Vanilla Fudge 2013: Carmine Appice - drums/ vox (original member) | Pete Bremy - bass/vox | Vince Martell - guitar/vox (original member) | Mark Stein - organ/vox (original member)

The Great Fraud: Joe Marrero - guitar, lead vocals | Taso Zahariadis - bass, vocals | Tony Marchesani - drums, percussion | Phil "Reese" Karlan - harmonica

Vanilla Fudge Setlist: Intro / Ticket to Ride / People Get Ready / She's Not There / Bang Bang / Take Me For A Little While / Eleanor Rigby / Break Song / Good Good Livin' / Season Of The Witch / Shoutgun / Rock n Roll / Dazed And Confused / You Keep Me Hanging On / Encore / Can't Do That

The Great Fraud Setlist: Cold Machine / Never Trust A Gypsy / Mystery Man / Roll Down / Let's Go Out And Play / I Love That Girl / Do You Really Love Your Man / Come On Let The Good Times Roll

The Vanilla Fudge - Still Sounding Sweet at the bergenPAC
The Great Fraud played a number of selections from their debut album to open the show.

Related Links: For more information on the VANILLA FUDGE and the other organizations mentioned please visit the following links - Vanilla Fudge | The Great Fraud |

(Originally Published on June 08, 2013)




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