Hours before taking the stage, Cleveland ex-pat Gabe Fulvimar of Gap Dream was bouncing off the walls of the Happy Dog. There were high fives and hugs, and he was always the first one to hop up and down to the four opening bands during Burger Records‘ Burgerama Caravan of Stars stop in Cleveland.
For Fulvimar, a veteran musician who had spent over a decade in the Cleveland and Akron music scenes, whose biggest claim to fame before Gap Dream was being the third Black Key before the Black Keys were big, the night was both a reunion and a validation. There were both old friends who haven’t seen much of Fulvimar since he relocated to California, and new fans who’ve only gotten hip to his talents after national press outlets like Spin and Pitchfork began to take notice.
And what a unique talent Gap Dream is! Upon first glance, Fulvimar is an unassuming man, thin with stringy, shoulder-length brown hair, rose-colored glasses and a jean jacket. He had the look of a lifer. He tapped on his laptop and twiddled the knobs on his keyboards. To his left, a bassist and guitar player both shared Fulvimar’s ’70s fashion style. Long hair, jeans, and tees ruled the night.
Then, those keyboards began to wobble and screech. The transformation was upon us. Fulvimar was no longer another man going nowhere in another band on a less than choice stop in Cleveland on a Monday night, but the world’s unlikeliest party rock hero. He was all smiles as the crowd bobbed and throbbed to “Chill Spot,” his ode to taking it easy. He couldn’t stand still, running between his keyboards on the right of the stage and the crowd pressing at the front. The bass was light and funky, the guitar, long and elegant. The keyboards alternated between soothing and harsh. And somehow, this moment produced a crowd-surfer.
Don’t try to figure it out. Fulvimar’s songs combine Beatles-esque melodies, with elements of krautrock and disco. He sings with a slacker’s nonchalance. It won’t add up until you experience it first hand.
The shy smiles often flashed by Fulvimar and his band showed they don’t necessarily know what to make of their notoriety, either. They have a groove that’s hit a sweet spot, or chill spot, if you will, with music fans. Tonight, that groove may have been only 30 minutes, 30 short minutes leaving the fans wanting more, but with things finally starting to click for Fulvimar, there’s little chance of Gap Dreams’ good vibes turning bummer any time soon.