One Under, Lotus Groove to play at the Robin Hood

Denver Collins

One Under will perform tonight at The Robin Hood with local act Lotus Groove and jazz/power-funk band Jazzam.

Doors open at 8 p.m. and the show begins at 9 p.m. Cover charge is $5.

Some may recognize the talents of One Under’s lead singer and guitarist Ed McGee and drummer Johnny Polansky, who previously played in Ekoostik Hookah.

McGee said One Under began as a side project for himself and Polansky three years ago. Polansky rehearsed with lead guitarist Mike Iannicello. After writing a few songs, they decided they needed a singer.

“I heard the music they were working on and thought it was fantastic, and I immediately started writing lyrics and rehearsing with them,” McGee said. “For awhile, sort of moonlighting for that band while still playing with Hookah was not a problem at all.”

But soon the band was faced with “sticky situations,” involving regulations and restrictions on the two bands playing at the same venues.

“There were a few moments that were kind of weird,” he said. “And it went from weird to, you know, not good.”

McGee and Polansky have focused on their new act and expanding their audience with One Under since 2005. While McGee said he was somewhat disappointed with the consequences he faced by joining another band, he has enjoyed the transition.

“I feel like I’m getting to go through some steps that I skipped over when I joined Hookah,” he said. “In a weird way, I kind of missed the group journey that you have when you’re just with your buddies and you get some milestones together.”

One Under is coming to play its first show downtown, and McGee said he is excited about bringing his new material to the area, reflecting on past experiences in Kent.

“The underlying thread through all of my experiences there was that it seemed like an area with a lot of spirit. Sometimes you can go to a town that could be described as sleepy or laid-back, but I felt Kent had a thriving spirit that you could feel,” he said. “And when you’re on stage with that kind of energy, it’s undeniable.”

But the members of Lotus Groove are arguably more excited, as their musical styles have been highly influenced by the members of One Under. For Jim Garibaldi, Lotus Groove bass guitarist, this is one of the most important shows the band has ever been scheduled to play.

“We’re all kind of nervous. It’s a huge deal for us on a personal level,” he said.

“I’ve been a fan of Ed McGee since I was 17 years old. We used to sneak into Nelson’s Ledges to go see Hookah,” he said. “It doesn’t seem real; I mean we’ve watched him play in front of thousands of people and to bring him to The Robin Hood is just ridiculous for us.”

Contact entertainment reporter Denver Collins at [email protected].