Groove Crew Band
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Groove Crew Band

Band R&B Soul


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"Groove Crew at KATZ Lounge..."

A few weeks ago, a friend suggested that we check out a band called Groove Crew at a local dive bar in her neighborhood. She lives in Kettering – a sprawling suburb of Dayton – so this hole-in-the-wall establishment was wedged in a strip mall, and was aptly categorized, though clean and very friendly. The band was one I’d seen before, and Katz Lounge was definitely my kind of dive.

Groove Crew is a soul, rhythm and blues, and funk act, with some members hailing from Cincinnati and some from Dayton, thus they regularly do shows throughout both metro areas. The seven-piece band, consisting of Galen Gordon and Melonie Kennedy on lead vocals, Danny Berton on bass and percussion, Jeff Verrillo on drums, Matt Arnold on guitar and vocals, Saul Schneider on keys, and Brian Massie on sax, harp, and vocals, is a commanding presence in any room. But in a small room like Katz, they are an overwhelming force.

Even with their large ensemble, the band’s volume was absolutely perfect for the size of the room. A discussion with Berton later revealed that this was largely due to the use of their electronic drum set, which allows the band to maintain a low stage volume, and hear each other clearly through the monitors. Not the usual game of instrumentalists leap-frogging amp volumes all night to cut through the mix and be heard – which can end up as an ear-splitting cacophony by the last set. With the house sound completely controlled by their board mix, the band was able keep a level that more than pleased the dancers up front, yet allowed those just a few tables back to be able to talk (albeit closely) without yelling.

The duo of Gordon and Kennedy on vocals was a true team, playing off of each other and lending the appropriate back-up when needed. Never stepping on or trying to outshine the other, they were true partners – each knew their place in a particular song. Having both a female and male lead vocalist, the band was able to cover wide variety of songs, and each of them were able to rest enough to give their all when needed.

The rhythm section of Groove Crew is centered around Berton, who provides a tight, precise bottom end on the bass from which the other players can build their grooves. This isn’t to say that Verrillo’s drumming doesn’t keep the band’s tempo, but Berton was originally a drummer for most of his life before he switched to bass five years ago. This fusion of drummer turned bassist makes for a strong foundation, giving Verrillo the freedom to explore and syncopate without always having to pull the bottom line. Together they make one mean rhythm machine.

Arnold’s guitar work was impressive and in the pocket, never too showy or out of place. Schneider gave the band a full sound with a great selection of organic, analog keyboard sounds, and very notable solo work on several pieces. Massie largely focused on his scorching sax work for most of the night, bringing out the harmonica to fill out the bluesy tone of several classics. Arnold and Massie’s vocal work was also striking, and a great counterpoint when Gordon and Kennedy needed a break.

Almost every song became an extended groove – though none of them meandered, got lost, or were in any way self-serving – each long jam was a direct reaction to the crowd’s enthusiasm and interest in dancing to a particular tune. Frontman Gordon often stepped down from the stage to dance with the crowd during instrumental moments, and even passed the mic to one particularly enthusiastic audience member (who I suspect they knew) who did an excellent job of filling-in on lead vocals. The gang knows the universal truth about parties: Motown and funk are the magic bullets for getting the crowd on their feet. And Gordon’s ability to work the crowd into a frenzy with responsive, in-the-moment ad-libs and cheer-inducing call-outs was the icing on an already rich party cake.

Groove Crew is the total package: a well thought out and executed rhythm and blues machine. From the extremely tight rhythm section and expertly crafted sound, to the color-coordinated, professional outfits and energetic vocal showmanship, this band knows how get a party started, and keep it going all night.
- Cincinnati Blues Examiner


Still working on that hot first release.



Why Groove Crew? - high energy, great harmonies, professional business persons and professional appearance! Groove Crew is the perfect band to showcase for your corporate events, community festivals, weddings or private parties! This is a band who really enjoys performing! They're having fun and audiences can tell!

Originating in September of 2007, Groove Crew has taken the Cincinnati/Dayton area by storm! This band strives to take you on a experience!