Letting songs breathe, The Humidors ascend to Tahoe

Tahoe Onstage

Bay Area R&B band The Humidors pose for a photo after soundcheck on Friday, March 1, at Whiskey Dick’s Saloon.
Tim Parsons / Tahoe Onstage

There’s a psychedelic soul and funk band from the Bay Area that’s on the “Rise.”

The Humidors ascended to the mountains for shows at South Lake Tahoe and Crystal Bay. It has a yet-to-be recorded song called “Rise.” And the eight-piece group is getting higher on the radar of music lovers.

Last weekend, The Humidors sold out their hometown venue, The Boom Boom Room in San Francisco.

“I am still buzzing from that gig,” guitarist Mike Mulqueen told Tahoe Onstage. “We played until 3 a.m. We really gave it our all. We like doing those late-night slots where we can stretch out the jams. That’s where the magic really happens, the all-nighters.”

The band’s lineup has changed since it started in 2011. Its second album, “Needle On The Record,” produced by Orgone’s Sergio Rios, was released on vinyl and CD last year. Mulqueen noted there already is enough new material for another album.

“We’ve settled down into our roles now,” he said. “We’re starting to gain momentum and we can stretch the jams out more. We’re letting the songs breathe. The songs are starting to evolve just like the band evolved.”

“Rise,” which addresses today’s divisive political climate, and “Through The Night” was played in Tahoe for the first time. On March 1, The Humidors debuted at Whiskey Dick’s Saloon and the following day it paid its third visit to the Crystal Bay Casino, playing The Motet after-party in the Red Room.

The Humidors also played covers by Tower of Power (“Drop It In The Slot”) and Jimi Hendrix, (“Crosstown Traffic”) – appropriate for a band whose players live in Oakland and San Francisco.

Guitarist Mulqueen said he was inspired by The Meters to play funk and by Stevie Wonder to play soul. He learned about The Meters because they were covered by so many bands, including the Grateful Dead.

“We’ve been adapting old-school soul with new-school soul and putting our own Bay Area twist to it,” he said. “We’re like Pink Floyd. You can’t really pin us down. We are funk and soul, but then we can also be very psychedelic. We’ve been mashing up psychedelic, soul and funk.”

— Tim Parsons

About Tim Parsons

Tim Parsons is the editor of Tahoe Onstage who first moved to Lake Tahoe in 1992. Before starting Tahoe Onstage in 2013, he worked for 29 years at newspapers, including the Tahoe Daily Tribune, Eureka Times-Standard and Contra Costa Times. He was the recipient of the 2011 Keeping the Blues Alive award for Journalism.

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