Foot tapping, body movements in sync with the sound, cheers of encouragement and a lively audience suggests that the extremely catchy, rhythmic group named The Molotov Quintet is one that calls our attention. I first heard them during an open mic night at the Haufbrau and have followed their music ever since. A sound that the band describes as a mixture of Spanish Flamenco, Brazilian and Jazz Music is becoming increasingly popular around the Bozeman area.
The Molotov Quintet includes Gabriel Lavin on guitar and oud, Aaron Banfield on guitar, Loren Block on ukulele bass and Jelani Mahiri on percussion and Alex Schwab on percussion. The group has been playing gigs around town for around six months at local spots such as 406, Sola Café, The Haufbrau and the Emerson. The group previously played together in a band called Dub Sultan, which still performs from time to time. Dub Sultan/Molotov quintet will open for renowned reggae band Steel Pulse March 26 at the Emerson.
The band and their members are as original as the name, as Lavin and Banfeild explained: “everyone in the group brings a different background/history of music to the table.” Mahiri, spent time doing doctoral research in Brazil where he picked up many different Brazilian and Latin percussion instruments most notably the “Pandeiro,” which is a tambourine-like drum that is played using a complex hand technique. Banfield studied jazz guitar at Portland State and played in jazz-combos as well as local rock groups there. Gabe Lavin studied the oud, a Middle Eastern lute, during his trips abroad in Egypt and Morocco studying Arabic and performed with many musicians there as well.
So how exactly did they get their name? The name for their group came after Lavin was required to return home from studying in Egypt because of the revolution. Lavin say that, “The music we started making after his return seemed to be a fiery concoction of sorts taking place in a time where revolutions are happening all over the world peaceful or not. We like to think we are a peaceful Molotov, making an explosion of sound.”
The group is active in the music scene with each taking part in this band and participating in other groups with different styles of music. All of the diversity certainly blends together and makes music that creates a lingering happiness in its ending. The group rehearses regularly, most often in the morning so there is always a pot of coffee or tea brewing nearby. They all plan to pursue music in the future.
What can you expect when going out to see the Quintet? Levin and Banfeild said “people can expect to see something different then your typical Bozeman music scene with sounds that will take from Rio to Cairo with a layover in Granada- and maybe another in Nashville Tennessee.”
The group is creative, passionate, lively and has sound worth checking out. The next show is March 22, at the 406 Brewery at 6 p.m. If you are unable to make the show but would still love to hear them, they do have a homemade album that was recorded live on KGLT. It is sold at shows on donation basis but you can listen to it free on Soundcloud at: soundcloud.com/the-molotov-quintet.