TROY — Every Wednesday night for the past decade, Bishop’s Lounge in Northampton, Mass., has a funk night hosted by Beau Sasser.
Out of those loose jams, Sasser — keyboardist and organ player for Kung Fu and Z3 — formed a bond with four other jam band veterans to create Beau Sasser’s Escape Plan, which will be playing Saturday, Jan. 14, at the Rustic Barn Pub, 150 Spiegletown Road (Route 40), just north of Lansingburgh.
“The Wednesday night funk night we were born out of was a very loose night,” said Sasser. “Escape Plan basically follows that.”
The group also includes guitarists Danny Mayer (from Alan Evans’ Playonbrother and On The Spot Trio) and Justin Henricks (Groovestick), drummer Bill Carbone (Max Creek, Z3) and vocalist Mary Corso. Henricks, a Capital District native, also handles lead vocal duties.
“We all play in a bunch of different projects, so we only get to tour together three or four times a year,” said Sasser. “All of (my other bands) are great and challenging in different ways, but this is probably the most fun (band).”
Over the years, the band has developed a repertoire of high-energy originals and covers that are guaranteed to get the crowd dancing. And as always, there is room in every song for extended jams, which can be a science unto itself.
“I kind of think of it as everybody putting together pieces of a puzzle,” said Sasser. “The drums and the bass build the foundation, sort of like the corner pieces of a puzzle. From there, the more melodic instruments — the guitars and the organ — will pick the parts of the melody that they want to explore to fill in more of the pieces.”
All of the songs have been tested at the Wednesday night funk jams at Bishop’s Lounge — a small venue in downtown Northampton where the people are close enough to the musicians to actually be part of the band. This Wednesday’s funk night will give Sasser and his band mates a chance to prepare for their short Northeastern tour, which will take them to Connecticut Thursday and Friday before hitting Rustic Barn Saturday.
“It’s almost a dress rehearsal for the tour,” said Sasser. “The neat thing about it is we can do whatever we want. We can walk off a cliff without worrying about it because we know the audience is understanding and will follow us.”
Tickets are available in advance for $10 on Rustic Barn’s website, www.rusticbarnpub.com.