Seasoned by an assortment of festivals under their belts, a Rolling Stone Super Bowl Party Show and a string of big city shows, Main Squeeze anticipate leaving The Vogue "freshly squozen" at their Friday show. Born in Bloomington, these multi-faceted funk fanatics made the migration to Chicago at the end of this past summer.
A self-titled "raging post-funk experience," the group has flourished as a regional act far from their modest college town roots. Originally known for hashing out versions of your mom's old favorites like "Superstitious" and "Use Me" to modern hip-hop classics like "The Next Episode," the Squeeze cut their chops polishing the art of rendition.
But they've always cultivated true creative aspirations.
"Our first show at the Bluebird had one original song, compared to our last Bluebird show, Oct. 3, which had 17 original songs and three covers," said Ben "Smiley" Silverstein, keyboardist.
They attribute much of this evolution to a focus on studio-based work, and gaining feedback via festivals and tours. But fans of their live shows will swear it's their passion that ultimately drives them. The Main Squeeze are masters of awakening the inner dance spirit of anyone who steps into their show. Mothers, fathers, cousins and siblings are subject to shaking what their mamas gave 'em when they're at a Squeeze performance. The charisma and energy that emanates from the stage while they play is gigantic and electrifying.
They got the chance to prove that on the big stage February.
After building an enormous reputation in Bloomington and doing some touring, the Main Squeeze entered a competition to perform at a the Rolling Stone-hosed Super Bowl party on the same bill as The Roots and Jane's Addiction. This highly sought-after slot was determined by an online popularity vote, which ultimately crowned the Main Squeeze as the winners.
"Rolling Stone actually picked the band out of the top three finalists, so it was pretty cool that they chose our band after listening to our music and all," said Corey Frye, vocalist. "The party itself was pretty wild, and Reuben [Gingrich, drummer] got to play on ?uestlove's drum kit."
Frye said the Downtown Indy party was "like a dream" and mentioned that Rolling Stone's follow-up coverage bolstered their fan base.
What could be more appropriate for the guys after playing a Super Bowl party, than performing at arguably the largest music festival in the United States? Absolutely nothing could be more natural for the Main Squeeze than to play at Bonnaroo Festival in Manchester, Tenn.
"The festival scene is cool. Those people love music and that's what they're there to do," said Gingrich.
"At Bonnaroo, we played at 12 in the afternoon and there was still close to a thousand people watching us."
"Festivals are a great thing to be a part of just in general," said Max Newman, guitarist. "But then having the gift and blessing to be able to put your stamp on a performance and contribute is the best."
The guys also "squeezified" tunes at the festivals Hyperion and Equifunk, and competed - - and won - - an international jazz competition in Macau, China.
Winning comes naturally to the Main Squeeze. The Venetian Jazz and Blues Festival in Macau, brought a hefty cash prize.
"China was awesome," said Frye. "It helped pay for our CD and a band van. It gave us international recognition, and opened a door to the East Asian market that we hope to continue to play in for years to come."
In conjunction with their myriad of successes on the festival circuit, and otherwise, the Main Squeeze decided to make the move to the Chicago.
The choice was made at the end of the summer. It was a big choice, but one that has already started to show profit.
"We're really laying the seeds," said Newman. "There isn't a lot tangible yet, but we've connected with lots of other bands and it's going to be great."
This enthusiasm demonstrates what could very well be the biggest, and most positive decision so far in their careers. With the move came a new bassist, Jeremiah Hunt, who had joined the band around the time of the release of their self-titled album.
Since they dropped their debut full-length compilation, Main Squeeze - - released on June 2, 2012 - - the crew has embarked on tours around the country from New York City to Madison, Wis. And the material they're touring on is strong.
"Our song writing process is so different now," says Smiley. "We spend so much time in the studio honing our albums now - - compared to [working on] our live work, which is how we started."
Progressing as instrumentalists and songwriters, the album displays the band's varied dimensions. Full of fan favorites, like "I'll Take Another" and "Mama Told Me" there are still plenty of soon-to-be classics that wait for discovery. Main Squeeze is totally deserving of its lengthy promotional tour.
Main Squeeze in Macau, China