Rock/reggae band Roster McCabe comes to The Rave

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Roster McCabe is returning to play at The Rave, 2401 W. Wisconsin Ave., Saturday at 8 p.,”If your music taste caters to funk, rock, reggae or psychedelic jams, Roster McCabe won't make you pick your poison. This sextet wants to do it all, and make you dance in the process.

Roster McCabe is returning to play at The Rave, 2401 W. Wisconsin Ave., Saturday at 8 p.m. after successful sets at Summerfest in July.

The band started as an acoustic group at college in 2005 at the University of Minnesota. After incorporating a drummer and bassist, the band released its first full-length record, The Rhythm/The Elements, in 2007.

Roster McCabe gained some exposure this past summer on a side stage at Summerfest, which lead guitar player Mike Daum called "Christmastime for the band."

Guitarist Drew Preiner said they would sometimes play twice a day at Summerfest. By the end of the week the band had collected quite a crowd.

The guys are hoping to receive a similar welcome on Saturday night when they hit the stage at The Rave.

"Summerfest kicked off such a great summer for us," said Alex Steele, lead vocalist and keyboard player. "It's really humbling. People in Milwaukee are so sweet. We had people who'd come back a couple days in a row."

Musical influences for the band include Matisyahu, Steely Dan, Phish and Bob Marley. While the music touches on funk, rock, reggae and psychedelic jams, Roster McCabe will pull all the stunts with four-part harmonies, techno or instrumental songs as well.

The band has quite the college following, but describe its audiences as diverse.

"We also get an older crowd that likes some of the funk stuff because it sounds like '70s funk," Preiner said. "What we're trying to do with our live shows is throw a party."

Early on, Roster McCabe underwent a sort of baptism by fire as they opened for Guster in 2007 to a crowd of about 3,000. The band had only been playing together for a short time and considered itself young for a show that remains its largest to date.

"That Guster show happened so fast, I barely remember it," Steele said. "I really enjoy being the underdog for opening acts."

Roster McCabe tries to keep shows positive and perform music that spreads good vibes.

"I love to see the crowd getting into it," Steele said. "That's my favorite thing in the world. As long as people leave with a smile on their face, then my job is done."

Since its first record, the group has seen a change of drummers and bass players and the loss of a saxophone. The band has been writing new songs and testing it out on the road in hopes to release a new record in the fall of 2009 that will be more representative of its new sound.

"What drives us forward is knowing our shows are continuously getting better. Now we have a pretty solid lineup," Daum said. "We all feel good about it. This is the best we've ever sounded."

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