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FAST LANE

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One of Gainesville's best bands, if not THE BEST. Caught them (again) at the Downtown Community Plaza last week - what a show! Accomplished musicians all, covering everything from Sly to Talking Heads to Chuck Berry, even a little tasty country too. Definitely a "can't Miss" group. (JR, 5-19-2017)

email to FAST LANE

Fastlane,

I wanted to let you know how much you all brought the house down and the people to their feet. Everyone, and I do mean EVERYONE at the wedding was asking who you were and saying you all were one of the best bands they've ever heard. I agree. I had never heard you play before but hired you at the suggestion of others and I'm SO HAPPY I did. I am now an official groupie. 
I thought the dance floor under the stage with the lights and floating lanterns made the night magical and you were the pilots of the night, taking the guest on a ride they'll never forget. I still have people telling me they haven't danced that much in YEARS. You all were so powerful there were even three people out on the dance floor who were in active Chemo therapy! Music is the best medicine. 
I will never forget dancing with my father and my newly minted husband. You helped make the wedding a magical experience, which we will never forget.
Many, many thanks,
Skye White

Note to the band

You all rocked! It has been wonderful working with you. You are very professional and talented, Everyone came up to me to tell me how great the band was. I can't thank you enough for the fun and funk you brought to our wedding, We will reccommend FAST LANE to anyone.

 

thank you,

 

David and Adrienne Ostrov

Gigsalad.com

Sweet Gig!

rating starrating starrating starrating starrating star

Fast Lane was a stellar band all around. Nearly all of our 120 attendees were up on their feet and dancing to the funky beats of Fast Lane. The band was fun, personable, and a pleasure to work with. Would recommend them to anyone hosting a banquet, reception, or corporate event. Our attendees have requested them already for our event next year.

Thanks Fast Lane!


Hired by: Lisa W.

gigmasters.com

We booked fastlane about 7 to 8 months in advance for our wedding in Miami Florida. We had alot of requests for specific songs for our reception. Fastlane's only request was that we get them what we wanted to hear a few months in advance and they would easily accomodate. True to thier word they delivered on what we wanted to hear and then some. Most impressive was that only about a 3rd or so of our request were on thier song list that they posted on Gigmasters. Every guest was impressed with the band and we partied. We would highly reccommend Fastlast for any event. If you want a professional talented band Fastlane is the best choice by far.....

letter to FAST LANE

Dear Vernon,

 

I am writing to thank you and the band for one terrific night of fantastic music and fun. Everyone has been commenting all week on how good you guys are. So Many people danced, laughed and had fun. You and your band made it a great party.

letter

hey Vernon, this is very overdue but i wanted to say thank you for playing such a great show at our wedding back in October.  Katie and I absolutely loved you all and had a fabulous time. y'all brought the funk, and that is what the NOLA crowd is always looking for. many, many thanks for a great memory.

Sounding the Depths (http://floridawendy.typepad.com/sounding-the-depths/)

Fast Lane Beating the Rain

With music, sometimes you just have to take a chance.  There it was, the first day of summer, and rain poured down. 

But one of my favorite bands, Fast Lane, was scheduled to play the Bo Diddley Plaza downtown as part of the Free Fridays Concert series downtown.  Every Friday night, from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m., we get treated by Alachua County to a free concert outdoors under the stars (http://gvlculturalaffairs.org/website/programs_events/plaza_series/plaza.htm.  My husband, Ken’s band, Uncle Morty’s Rhythm Cream, is scheduled to play July 19.

But we were both excited to go see Fast Lane, and we’ve been looking forward to it for weeks.  Fast Lane was scheduled to play as part of African American Music Appreciation Month.  So, even though it was raining hard, we decided to take a chance, grab some dinner and head downtown.  

The band was already on stage, playing their hearts out to an almost empty crowd as the downpour continued. But lo and behold, after a few minutes of tenuous weather, a break in the rain occurred and the crowd began to gather.  The gods of music smile on Fast Lane.

All they had to do was start the first few notes of a song and the crowd went wild – they couldn’t believe what they’re hearing.  You’re a shining star, no matter who you are.

One reason the band is so popular is because they are so great at capturing the hearts of the crowd.  The range of the lead singers, Lacy Lou Gifford and Michelle Banfield, is impressive.  Michelle has a solid range and an amazing voice, perfect for the soulful songs.  Lacy’s voice is higher but strong and engaging.  Guitarist Bo Digitally is a master showman.  He gets the crowd going and keeps the band at a fever pitch. 

These three began the night in brightly colored costumes and then changed halfway through.  How many bands do you know have a lead guitarist in bright green pants and a yellow shirt with flowers, playing a red guitar?  How about lead singer Lacy in her little skirt and green camisole, or Michelle, who went from patriotic colors to a brown and gold silk tunic and brown boots?  They literally dance the night away.

A little thing like a costume change just thrilled the audience, especially the college kids who had wandered in from the various restaurants in the downtown area.  These kids were really funny.  They originally started across the plaza to their cars, and I’m sure they had no intention of stopping to listen to some local band they’d never heard of.  Then Fast Lane started playing again, and the groups stopped, stared, open-mouthed, and never left till the end of the concert.

This band gets the crowd going every time, even in the midst of a stream, which the Plaza basically was.  Little children played in the wet grass and came up soaked. An elderly gentleman began break dancing – yes, really – and for a moment, the crowd stared.  Were we going to have a crisis?  He moved so slowly on the one-handed turn we were afraid – would he get up or should we call for backup? 

On the other side of us, a high school couple danced.  The girl moondanced in front of her friend, who shyly , subtly gyrated.  Then suddenly, inspired by the music, he reached over, grabbed the girl up off the ground and hoisted her up to his waist.  He swung her around, and she screamed, startled but thrilled.

I look over and two ladies in their sixties are dancing next to each other.  They could be sisters.  They have the same dark skin, short hair and big, bright smiles. At the front of the stage, a woman in a white hat points to the piano player, Vernon, who points back, laughing.  I don’t know what type of instrument he has – a portable piano he can wear around his neck?  Never seen anything like it.  Of course he goes back and forth from his  real piano to his mobile device, so there’s never a break in the action.

An older couple comes forward and dances – the woman, who has long hair tied down her back, dances enthusiastically, like she’s doing the old dance, The Pony (and she’s old enough to remember it.)  The guy, long hair tied down his back, dances back and forth like those of us who couldn’t dance did in the early seventies.   She’s definitely getting the better workout. Dancing and singing and moving to the music – play that funky music white boy. Pony girl is wild with joy.

In the center of the plaza, a bunch of older women help a couple of young girls do the dance, the Electric Glide (or maybe they knew it as the Hully Gully, which is what it was called when I was in high school).  As the women dance, more and more people join in and soon the kids are rocking and turning like pros.

Photographers have appeared out of nowhere, complete with tripods and expensive cameras. The lead guitarist goes to the front of the stage, stands on the edge, and plays till the crowd is literally jumping for joy.  The sisters have moved closer to the stage.  The breakdancing old man is holding both hands up in the air, signaling number 1 with both thumbs.

The drummer, Josh Hoffenberg, was fantastic, and for a band that plays as much open-ended music as Fast Lane, this was a challenge.  But Dave Baggaley, also on guitar, is no slouch!  Bassist Keith Ladd was excellent.  Pianist Vernon Montoya was amazing, pulling all those master showmen together.

The band had a few new sounds that evening – Perry Hornkohl played saxophone and an incredible flute, while Uncle Morty’s trumpet player, Doug Myers, played his usual amazing horn music.  Doug told us later that the band was tough to keep up with since they changed their set list frequently.  But I think that’s one of the amazing things about Fast lane – they are so versatile.  They give the audience what they want.

And what we wanted was just what we got – a night of hot music under the stars after the rain had washed the world clean and cooled everything off.  Sometimes, you just gotta take chances.

 

 

Sounding the Depths (http://floridawendy.typepad.com/sounding-the-depths/)

12/18/2011

The Fast Lane played at my wedding in October 2010, and was a HUGE hit! We knew we wanted to hire a band, hoping it would make the event more lively and get everyone up and dancing instead of sitting at their table waiting for the next thing to happen. Fast Lane provided not only music, but ENTERTAINMENT all night, no guest was left waiting for what happens next. They made all the announcements throughout the evening fun by singing a jingle instead of bossing the herd of guests to the next room. I am not exaggerating in that the FIRST compliment we get from 90% of guests is for the band. Vernon is so professional in the booking and details. Will not be disappointed

Fastlane was phenomenal. They were professional, prompt, entertaining and movtivated my guests to join in and dance till they couldn't. I would hire them again without a moment's hesitation

We had a blast! Would DEF use them again for any upcoming events. They were beyond fun and def. talented!

They were very professional and talented. The show was very exciting and exactly what we were looking for!

janesworldentertainment.com

Fast Lane
Powerful dance band with two strong female and one male lead vocal that can nail "Prince" and play guitar behind his back. Out of Gainesville, but willing to travel. Funk, disco, R&B/Motown and current hits. Able to satisfy the most diverse client.

Thank you so much for yesterday! You guys created the perfect fun-filled atmosphere last night and we will be eternally grateful. I'll email you any cool pics of the band and I'll send you a link to all the wedding pics so you can select any others ;)

Thanks again!! You guys rock xxxxx

Gainesville Writer's Alliance

May 7, 2011

This college town is quiet – the students are gone.  But Tall Paul’s beer house rocks with the band Fast Lane at the helm. This talented group of musicians has an incredible range of songs, from funk to blues to rock and roll.  From Tracy Chapman’s, “Gimme One Reason,” to John Fogerty’s classic “Rolling on the River,” the band rocked the house to the very soul of the observers. 

It seems everyone in the band can sing, but the two women, Michelle “Velvet” Banfield and “Lacy Lou” Gifford, have incredible vocal range.  And style.  A band that does “Tell me Something Good,” that old classic by Rufus and Chaka Khan, one minute and then launches into Beyoncé’s “I’m a Single Lady” the next,  is a band that makes the term “cover” a misnomer.  They take these songs and OWN them, just like they own the audience.

 

Here the girls go, drifting into the crowd with their microphones, catching the men by surprise and the women with delight.   As the vocalists  approach, singing without pause, the guys stare, riveted.   People start dancing, even those who might be shy.  In the background, lead guitarist Skyntyte leaps into the air, does splits, and never misses a note.  The keyboardist, Dr. Rockenstein, who studied music theory at Boston College, plays and sings with the girls, uniting them with the other players.  Bass player. Sebastian “Dopamine” dela Calle looks too young to play as well as he does.  He is amazing.  And of course, we know the drummer, Andre “Nasty Joker” Wicks, from all those nights of open mic music at the big purple house, the sadly defunct Tim and Terry’s Music Club.  His ready beat keeps the crowd moving as smoothly as if he owned the night.

 

A member of the audience gets on the “stage” with the band and the two women lead vocalists give her dance instruction.  She joins them in the next song.  Emboldened, the rest of the crowd moves forward in the club and begins dancing.  Here they are swaying individually, there a couple is swing dancing.  People take out their phones and begin snapping pictures.  These memories are too good to let pass without recording.  From young kids who look like freshmen to older people who have drifted in looking for something to do, the crowd is open-mouthed with surprise at the talent they’re privileged to see.

 

When they do the song “Good Times,” members of the band take turns dancing individually.  They prove that singing and playing music aren’t their only talents as they rule the dance floor.  The crowd get into the act, some doing flips and somersaults while their peers clap and cheer.

Fast Lane’s slogan is, “And lo, they brought the funk, and it was good.”  Believe me, Saturday night “good” was too mild a word – let’s try great!  Thanks, Fast Lane, for making the evening rock.