3rd Left
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3rd Left

Plymouth, Massachusetts, United States | SELF

Plymouth, Massachusetts, United States | SELF
Band Rock Jam


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"3rd Left Review"

"To compare 3rd Left to (*insert band name here*) would be a cop out.
Equal parts rock, jam & funk, they've simply got too much going on to
put into words. Listen to them. You will move."
-- Adam 12, Middays, 104.1 WBCN Boston

- Adam12 104.1 WBCN Boston

"Local band plays benefit concert"

May 04, 2007

PLYMOUTH - Plymouth-based jazz-reggae-funk favorites 3rd Left will join a handful of bands today (Saturday) for a benefit concert for the Elias Fund, a nonprofit organization that helps Zimbabwean youth through education and community development.

The show, “EliasFest: Voice of the Voiceless”, begins at 2:30 p.m. at Nara Park, 25 Ledgerock Way in Acton. The concert also features local bands The Brew, The Casual Fiasco, Clarias, Scarecrow Collection, Barefoot Truth, Tin Can Tele, Old Silver Band, Geno and Xander.

State Radio, a well-known band on the indie rock circuit, was recently added as the show’s headliner.
- Old Colony Memorial

"Noize Pollution - Massachusetts"

The Boston music scene has churned out one notable act after another, including the recent soultronic indie-pop-rockers Passion Pit. But outside of the Boston area, places such as Plymouth, Massachusetts in particular, are quickly turning into a mini music mecca.

An eclectic mix of pop, soul, folk, jazz, punk, and the most DIY indie rock echoes the few, tiny venues in this historic town of 50,000. And when Hollywood big wigs build a massive movie studio next year here in Plymouth, the music scene is expected to absolutely explode.

The funky rock groove band 3rd Left hail from Plymouth, Massachusetts, located roughly 75 kilometers south of Boston. They’re part of the emergence of local music on the outskirts of Boston.

“Starting off in a small town is great. There’s just a certain amount of people, and if you can suck all those people in, they are so loyal because you’re in a small town and anytime you play, they come to see you,” bassist Bryan Pierce said. “During the summertime, every night is a party, and then we can go up to Boston and pack a place out. When you get up there and get a brand new crowd, it’s awesome because the people in your town can see you anytime.”

When the boys in 3rd Left broke onto the music scene in 2003, they took a giant and rather brave experimental leap. They immediately drew comparisons to the Dave Matthews Band, Phish, O.A.R., and several other “jam” bands. But the guys didn’t set out to mimic any mainstream band or sound. They did their own thing.

“It came in stages,” Pierce said. “(Singer) Brian (Hitchings) and (drummer Zak (Fey) were together since junior high. I met them their freshman year in college, which was 2002, and then (trumpet player) Johnny (Souza) joined maybe two and a half, three years ago.”

On the band’s Facebook page, it describes itself by saying, “3rd Left is a very hard band to describe. It’s a sort of jazzy, reggae/funk, with rock overtones and melodic harmonies. Their songs change form and turn into new songs every show. You can call them a jam band if you want but that’s letting yourself off easy. Every song different from the next. You’ll have an epic 7 min. song in your face and then you’ll get hit with a 3 min. beauty. It’s like being at a concert and Al Green opened for Rage Against the Machine! Sounds ridiculous but they make it work.”

Six years after forming, 3rd Left’s fanbase has grown tenfold, and not solely in their hometown. The 3rd Left boys, now in their mid-20s, just wrapped up their second-ever extended East Coast tour, making stops in New York City, Philly, Ohio, Kentucky, Virginia, Florida, and Washington, D.C. They returned to their home base in early March and didn’t stop to rest. They were set to play four shows in four days and had a number of gigs lined up for early spring.

“We’re trying our best to do it,” singer/guitarist Brian Hitchings said. “We’re not pros in the way of thinking. We try to be pros playing, but I don’t consider myself a savvy mind of the music biz. Sometimes it gets monotonous. Sometimes we’ll get into a spurt where it’s kind of the same thing over and over again and then you try to do something different. You’ve got to try and find a way and always make it happen.”

Days before 3rd Left took off on their East Coast tour, the lads played a show at Kiskadee Coffee, a small coffeeshop in downtown Plymouth, Massachusetts. Souza and band manager Brandon Estey arrive early, but they can’t do too much. The rest of the boys in the band have the majority of the equipment. Bassist Pierce shows up minutes after Souza and Estey. Hitchings and Fey saunter into the coffeeshop 30 minutes later. Some of the band’s fans beat the band to the show.

Fey and Hitchings arrive in their “tour bus,” a 1994 Ford E-350 Conversion van, which looks more a wheelchair transport vehicle than a band’s tour bus. Fortunately for the boys, with all the travelling the bus does, the worst that has happened to it - the exhaust pipe fell off during the band’s first East Coast tour.

“We found the van on some guy’s front yard,” Estey said. “It’s a 21-passenger van, and it has two couches in the back.”

Certainly not the type of vehicle you’d see roaming the streets of England per say, and not exactly looking like a major band’s tour bus, but it does look better than most of the passenger vans that many bands use whilst on tour. When the band travels, Fey does most of the driving. Others refuse to drive, and others are asked not to drive.

“I didn’t touch the wheel the last time we went on tour,” Souza said.

“I’m the least wanted to drive on tour,” Hitchings said.

When Hitchings and Fey arrived with the rest of the equipment at Kiskadee, a tiny coffeeshop by day that doubles as an intimate venue for local musicians a couple nights a week, the band members set up the gear. Estey lay out a pile of CDs he hopes to sell during the show.

Estey said the band gets paid for 99 percent of the shows it plays. It also makes a small amount of cash selling CDs, but in order to pay bills and rent, everyone has a job on the side, much like many emerging artists. For fuck sake, the boys in the massively popular Vampire Weekend all had jobs up until they released their first CD. Fey works for an equipment rental business, Pierce works at a job where, “I carry things.” Hitchings makes a living on music, playing a ton of solo acoustic gigs in addition to playing for 3rd Left. Souza works in retail, and Estey recently worked on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean, guarding the prestigious Mayflower ship, yes, the one that sailed from Southampton (well, not the original, but a replica. Hey, it’s still historic, yes?).

The night of their farewell gig at Kiskadee, one that sent the boys off on their second-ever stateside East Coast tour, the had the packed coffee shop (capacity 85) dancing and singing to several of their addictive original “funky rock groove” songs.

“I always have Johnny right next to me, so we always have fun when we’re onstage, usually at the other’s expense,” Pierce said. “It’s so much fun every night.”

It’s hard to believe, Souza said, that all the years the band has been together that this is their first time playing Kiskadee. All members live within 10 minutes of the coffeeshop.

But 3rd Left has played much larger venues, including the annual Keene Music Festival in New Hampshire, which draws hundreds. They play New York City once a month and pack various venues in and around Boston, including Harper’s Ferry and Tommy Doyle’s.

On that cold Friday night in Plymouth, 3rd Left kicked off their show with the fan favourite “Monday’s Cherry,” to which Hitchings began with “I hope you have your coffee pants on.” Their carefree, laid back attitude onstage captivates their fans. Add their unique music to the mix, and you’ve got one ace show after another.

3rd Left have never played England, let alone anywhere else outside of the states, but they have tasted a bit of Britain and do so quite often.

The lads occasionally play a chain of local pubs, the British Beer Company. The BBC, as we prefer to call it, has eight locations outside of Boston. They offer a smashing menu, including British traditions of bangers and mash, shepherd’s pie, and pot roast, served with pints of Old Speckled Hen, Fullers Porter, and Boddington’s. But attention sways from the menu, but not the pints, the moment 3rd Left set up their gear and dive into their infectious music.

“I would love to go overseas and play there (U.K.),” Fey said. “I think they’d like us more over there.”

The guys have earned praise from local and national radio stations and music critics, including one at Boston’s biggest rock station, WBCN 104.1 FM.

DJ Adam 12 said of 3rd Left: “To compare 3rd Left to (*insert band name here*) would be a cop out. Equal parts rock, jam & funk, they've simply got too much going on to put into words. Listen to them. You will move.”

What’s next for 3rd Left? Signing to a label? Or do the boys want to stick with their DIY approach, one that has churned out quite an underground following.

“To be signed by a major label today doesn’t mean anything,” Estey said. “My main goal, and theirs, is to be a successful touring band and be able to play the venue circuit. Look at bands like (Boston’s) Boys Like Girls. They’re still on an indie label, and they’re huge.”

3rd Left’s music is all over the Internet. You can download tracks on iTunes, Rhapsody, eMusic, and CDFreedom. Scan YouTube to see clips from their Live at Memorial Hall DVD. For more info, sounds, a tour schedule, and then some from 3rd Left, check them out at www.myspace.com/3rdleftlives.

By Ryan Wood
Photo by Lauren Foley
- Noize Makes Enemies


Doin' The Damn Thing (2005 LP)
No Junk No Soul (2006 LP)
Live at Memorial Hall (2007 LP)



3rd Left is a very hard band to describe. It's a sort of Jazzy, Reggae/Funk, with rock overtones and melodic harmonies. Their songs change form and turn into new songs every show. You can call them a jam band if you want but that's letting yourself off easy.
Historically, what has come to be known as 3rd Left began around 10 years ago. Brian Hitchings and Zak Fey met in school and began a friendship that would result in a musical explosion. Throughout High School, the two would play together and expand their songbase. After High School, Hitchings and Fey entered UMASS Lowell. There they met Bryan Pierce, a bassist with a panache for wild hair styles. The three began performing as a group, entertaining the masses. Meanwhile, 35 miles away, in Boston, Johnny Souza was doing the college thing as well, at Berklee College of Music. He was playing trumpet in various ensembles, such as the Parliament/Funkadelic and James Brown groups. Jazz was the main focus for Johnny. Back in Lowell, the guys left school with one goal in mind, to make the most amazing music they could. In the summer of 2006, Johnny Souza joined 3rd Left, and they have been one instrument since then.