Gig of the week – Pass The Sauce

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Sauce with that jam, anyone? Summer Saturdays look promising for those with an appetite for tasty sounds.

Ex-Salmonella Dub sax man Conan Wilcox says Pass The Sauce – the loose band of Queenstown musos who began regular courtyard slots at the Dux last month – is going down well with punters.

“It’s really aimed at locals,” Wilcox says. “I know a helluva lot of people who are in my shoes, who like the idea of popping down to the Dux for a quiet and having some live, interesting music happening. And never knowing quite what’s going to happen each week…”

Wilcox, who stepped aside from Salmonella Dub in 2006 to focus on family life, is the linchpin holding Pass The Sauce together. He coordinates the weekly jam sessions and rustles up like-minded players for future gigs.

The aim is to provide “tasteful, good music that you can eat and converse to”.

“I’ve really found a need for that,” Wilcox explains. “When you go to see live music, it always tends to be incredibly loud. What we’re doing is not so much background music as something where people can still interact with each other.”

The band’s lineup changes from week to week. The result is a crossover of live sax, percussion, bass, freestyling MCs and DJs who never play a tune the same way twice.

“There’s a few core guys, such as Caleb and Joe Cowie from Blackplanet, but I’m pretty much the nucleus,” says Wilcox. “If I can get a group of 10 people who come and go, that would be fantastic and will keep it fresh and interesting.

“I spent 14 years playing with Salmonella but gave that away a while ago. I’ve been looking for something original to get into and I think this is such a cool concept – the whole outdoors thing.”

Wilcox says Pass The Sauce have only one rule – keep it mellow.

“We do a bit of up-tempo funky stuff as it gets later in the evening but the whole idea is a downbeat, mellow vibe with plenty of pace between the instruments.

“The less-is-more mentality is pretty strong.”

Pass The Sauce play live and free at the Dux this Saturday from 8pm