High Peaks Band
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High Peaks Band

Saratoga Springs, New York, United States | SELF

Saratoga Springs, New York, United States | SELF
Band Rock Jam


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



"High Peaks Band to summit at Bailey's"


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SARATOGA SPRINGS — Since its formation in 2005, High Peaks Band has evolved from playing Grateful Dead and Phish covers to writing and performing their own jams. They call their music style “Smart Jam,” a mix that encompasses almost the whole musical spectrum, including reggae, jazz, blues, calypso, gospel, progressive, classical, funk, jam, rock, folk and even Celtic.

“Everyone in the band is a big fan of music all around, so we don’t put limits on what we can bring to the band,” said bassist Mike Hoffman.

Although members have come and gone, the band currently consists of four: Aaron Giffen, drums and vocals; Brian Hoffman, keyboards, guitars and vocals; Hoffman, bass and vocals; and Rick Nelson, guitar and vocals. “We’re like four brothers,” Hoffman said. “One of us will start a sentence, another one will pick up the middle, and another will finish it.” Drummers Bob McKeon and Robin Barkenhagen play occasionally, as well.

“HPB,” as they call themselves, started “sneaking” original songs into sets when they decided not to be exclusively a cover band. Since then, their original repertoire has grown significantly and they regularly mix originals with covers.

“People actually dig it,” Nelson said. “They started asking for the original songs we were doing, and some people ask which ones were even originals because they can’t tell the difference.”

“It’s a compliment, for sure,” Hoffman said, “and a lot more rewarding.”

The band has played all over town, from Gaffney’s to Bailey’s to Putnam Den to SPAC, where they once opened for alternative/bluegrass/jam band Rusted Root. “They’re a great group of guys,” Nelson said of Rusted Root. HPB has also played annually at the pavilion in Congress Park for “Party in the Park” and have put on an annual Halloween show at Bailey’s. They’ve taken their music around the rest of New York state, to the SUNY schools and around Vermont.

“There’s a great scene here; a lot of people are into the kind of stuff we’re doing,” Hoffman said. “Locals call themselves the ‘518 phamily,’ and some come out to Vermont to see us. We always tell them, ‘Without you guys, we wouldn’t be anything,’ and we really feed off that energy.”

They call the networking between local jam bands, fans and venues a “symbiotic relationship,” and see that as very important to them, but HPB is all about doing it themselves and using music and live shows more than anything else to get their name out there.

“We want to do it in the most true and honest way, not with a flashy image or the most Facebook likes, or anything else other than going out and playing as much as possible,” Hoffman said.
“We put all our efforts into the music,” Nelson said. “We played 82 shows last year. Every time there’s another link in the chain, it’s another opportunity for something not to go right. Ultimately, people spend money at end of week to come see us; we take it seriously to put out a good show.”

Their first album, “Base Camp,” keeping in line with the band’s mountain theme, will be their first CD with all original tracks, and, true to their style, was all self-recorded. HPB will debut it this Saturday at the Halloween party at Bailey’s from 7 p.m. to 1 a.m. The band will also host a costume contest. Admission is free. Doors open at 7 p.m. - Saratogian


"Live at the Big Up" Big Up Festival, Ghent, NY June 2010
"Base Camp" October 2012



Born out of the Saratoga NY 518 Pham scene, HPB weaves fragile melody with booming thunderclaps. The sounds of the storm clouds when they meet the mountain ridge, forcing terra down the slopes with its merciless push into the deep waters , is the sound of HPB in mid trance.

With subtle words that tell tales of yesterday, haunting harmonies that tell of a future still uncertain, HPB is simply the catalyst for the music. On a whim, it takes them where it will.

Made up of 4 soldiers of Gsus, HPB has traveled the world listening for the magic. HPB incorporates Reggae, jazz, blues, calypso, gospel, progressive, classical, funk, jam, rock and folk into a unique blend that is called Smart-Jam. The words and the notes sometimes get lost in each other before you are taken out into big sky. Only to come crashing back down into a driving groove that will leave you “Peaking”.

HPB has shared this musical journey and stage with some amazing artists such as; Rusted Root, Melvin Seals and JGB, R.A.Q., Bernie Werrell, The McLovins, Capital Zen, Lucid, Stone Revival Band(featuring Vinnie Amico of MOE), Roots Collider, Fundimensionals, Audio In flux, Flux Capacitor, Kung Fu, The Breakfast, Formula 5 and many more.

Expect the unexpected at an HPB show. Its not quite the Twilight Zone, but its close. Feel free to lose yourself in the music… You may just find the band staring at you and realize your dance is driving the jam!

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