The clock struck 10:00 p.m. at The Stone Church, and patrons of the Newmarket music club sprung to the dance floor. The sounds of a blazing fast saxophone, bluesy guitar and a funky bassline filled the room, produced by none other than the seacoast funk band, Clandestine.
“We want to take people on a journey with us and provide them with the best night possible,” says the drummer of the band Chris Salemme. Salemme said the band is a product of the collective members having fun and expressing themselves. “We like to throw a good party,” Salemme added.
Clandestine throws a party where multiple genres of music are played. It’s not just one DJ that only plays 2000’s throwbacks. Inspirations from Jazz, Funk and the blues are all found within Clandestines sound. “We all have a background in most genres, especially Jazz, but we pooled our strengths together to make something genuine and unique,” Salemme said.
During their performance, the band combined Cissy Strut by The Meters, an American Funk band, and Yardbird Suite by Charlie Parker, who was an innovator in Jazz music. The band’s mixed-genre concoction, “Yardbird Strut”, gave audience members a chance to join the band on stage.
Audience member Rainor Vigneault was invited to fill in on guitar for the song. “I was caught off guard,” Vigneault said. “But there was no way I was turning down the opportunity to play with the band. It was a blast, and I’m so grateful to be friends with such talented musicians.”
Inviting guests and audience members on stage is a common thing for Clandestine, Chris Salemme explained. “It’s such a spectacle to get the audience involved. Their energy feeds into our music, so in my mind, they are just as much a part of the band as we are.”
Clandestine remains grateful to their fans and enjoys feeding off of their crowds’ energy. “It’s all about the fans really,” Salemme stated. “Without them, we would be nothing, so we owe all of our success to our loving and supportive friends.”
“Not Just a Cover Band”
Andrew Emmanuel, the saxophonist for Clandestine, takes a different approach to performing the greatest hits. “We try to convey the spirit of popular music with a saxophone in place of a vocalist,” Emmanuel explained. “When we play a melody, people sing the words for us, and it fosters a different vibe than your run of the mill cover band.”
Emmanuel describes the band as a compromise they made with their audience. The melting pot of genres that is Clandestine allows the band members to utilize the improvisational skills they’ve learned through studying Jazz, while the audience gets to hear songs they recognize and enjoy.
“Clandestine is different from a lot of other local bands,” said audience member Jahmilha Crook. “They don’t rely on singing and lyrics, yet they still have a relatively good following which is cool to see.”
Crook says their solos are always impressive, specifically when Chris Salemme draws the audience in with his in depth ideas on the drumset. “Chris took a 5 minute drum solo when I saw them last spring, and the crowd loved it,” Crook said.
“Using themes of Jazz music allows us to make each performance different,” Andrew Emmanuel said. The way the band members approach their solos is influenced by their backgrounds in Jazz music. This idea keeps the music fresh to the band, while still giving the audience an enjoyable experience.
Clandestine creates this bond with their audience with the pop culture songs they grew up with. “We selected some songs from television and video games because they’re songs that speak to us,” Emmanuel explained.
“Clandestine gives me a chance to pay homage to this music that I would otherwise have to appreciate passively.”
The improvisational touch that Clandestine uses in their arrangements ensures audience members that each experience will be unique and catered to the present moment.