Sci Fi plays with the Native Sway

Article Published: Dec. 1, 2010 | Modified: Sep. 7, 2011
Sci Fi plays with the Native Sway

Sci Fi's about to come in for a landing.

The Wilmington-based trio's set to orbit Boone Saloon for a jazz-funk fusion that will put crop circles in your psyche.

"It's kind of a mixture between what the live electronica bands are doing now with elements of jazz and funk and blues," front man Justin Heter said. "It's got a lot of up-tempo."

And its attack plan varies.

"We do little jazz funk gigs for parties and weddings... and then we mix in more electronica for bigger clubs and venues," he said.

Think keys, bass and drums. For Sci Fi, however, it's more than the music. It's the camaraderie, and this year has brought an unexpected challenge.
While musically, they've been going strong, the absence of their good friend and manager, Joel Stout, has them on a downswing. It was Stout's dedication that nabbed the trio spots at coveted festivals like Bonnaroo, a tour in California and shows like Phish after-parties.
It's his unexpected passing at the age of 33 earlier this year, however, that has his trio struggling to discover what's coming next.

"He pulled us together and made a company from the ground up," Heter said.

Thanks to Stout, the Sci Fi keyboardist occasionally records with George Clinton, and the group has played with greats like Big Ol' Nasty Get Down and the Disco Biscuits.

And now?

"It's been very, very difficult," Heter said. "We didn't realize how much Joel did for us."

But it's starting to come together.

Now, thanks to their friends, The Native Sway, they're bringing their three-and-a-half-year legacy to the High Country. Heter is glad to be back.

"Boone's very open," he said. "The kids love live music."

It's a special place to Sci Fi and always brings back memories of its 2005 tour, the year they scrimped and saved to purchase a 1981 full-sized Chevy tour bus.

"We spent two months working on the tour bus and painting it," he said.

The first show on the tour was at Black Cat Burrito in Boone.

"And then the bus broke down on the way out of Boone, and it cost too much to fix it," Heter laughed. "It was going backwards down the steep part of 321 ... we had a whole entire summer planned of gigs."

But that was five years ago. Since then the trio has been back and forth across North Carolina, and they've noticed a pattern in their travels.

"There's a lot of good bands that have come from North Carolina," Heter said.

And he hopes Sci Fi counts among them. Sci Fi ( plays with Boone jammers The Native Sway ( Dec. 4 at Boone Saloon (489 W. King St.). Expect a $7 cover charge.

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