Varsity gets perpetually grooved on Halloween

If you go to a live concert by Perpetual Groove, a Southern rock-jam band, be ready for absolutely anything, especially at their Halloween concert, Oct. 31 at the Varsity Theatre.

The group’s Halloween shows typically have costumes, movie quotes and unique cover songs to suit unusual themes that in the past incorporated tributes to James Bond and “The Big Lebowski.”

“Certain parts of our music have elements of improvisation and involve risks that we like to take. We try out new ideas, sometimes intentionally and sometimes unintentionally,” explained Matt McDonald, the keyboard player for Perpetual Groove (a.k.a. P. Groove).

McDonald shares the stage with Albert Suttle (drums) and founding members Adam Perry (bass) and Brock Butler (guitar/vocals). Perpetual Groove sprang up in 1997 near Savannah, Ga., but in 2006 they settled in the world-renowned Athens, Ga., music scene.

“When you look back, we were seeking out our identity as a group. I feel like now we’ve found our identity. We try to keep the listener engaged and interested,” McDonald said.

Perpetual Groove has released several albums including “Perpetual Groove” (debut in 1999), “Sweet Oblivious Antidote” (2003), “All This Everything” (2004), “LiveLoveDie” (2007), and “Heal” (2009).

“On this tour we have a lot of newer songs that we’re working on that are going to be on an album that we’re going to release next spring,” McDonald said.

Playing new songs to audiences on the road lets Perpetual Groove experiment with the arrangements of each tune before going into the recording studio.

With five albums recorded, McDonald and his bandmates felt they have enough experience to make the next album in a different way.

“This will be the first time that we do the majority of the recording ourselves, which is pretty exciting and liberating,” he said.

Another project in the works will also be a new experience for them.

“We’re going to do a music video, you know something scripted, shot and edited like a traditional music video,” he said.

With that said, if you want to see live performance video of Perpetual Groove, download their concerts posted online at Achieves.org (http://archive.org/search.php?query=perpetual%20groove).

The group also enjoys the benefits of social media to engage current fans and win over new ones.

“Just earlier today, we put out a tweet and a Facebook update. You’re able to interact daily with thousands of people that way, which is pretty fascinating,” McDonald said.

When asked if social media marketing ever gets a bit tiring, McDonald said he simply accepts it as a normal part of being in a band that wants to extend its audience.

“This is a business like any other business, but it just happens to be a really great business and a whole lot of fun. We’re fortunate enough to have people who want to interact with us,” he said.

While most groups have only brief life spans, Perpetual Groove has withstood the highs and lows of life in a band.

“There are definitely peaks and valleys,” McDonald said. “After you’ve been doing it and going through the ups and downs, the forward momentum is upward now. We’re lucky to get to do what we do.”

When describing what Perpetual Groove offers during its concerts, McDonald said it’s about creating a feeling within the audience.

“You feel like you’re at an event ... where there’s a celebration of life,” he said. “We try to hit the whole emotional range that life brings.”

Perpetual Groove will rock the Varsity Theatre on Oct. 31 at 9 pm.

Visit http://pgroove.com/ for more information.