Arts & Entertainment, The Muse

Strange Phish

It has been more than four years since Phish last played a show, but next Wednesday their music will once again be bouncing around the room at the Cavern Club in Boston’s Hard Rock Caf’eacute;.
The architects of this resurrection are The Strange Design, a South Carolinian quartet featuring brothers Matt Chase and Adam Chase on guitar and drums, respectively, along with Aaron Levy on keyboards and Ben Markowitz on bass. Their fall tour along the East Coast has been well received by both critics and fans of the famous Vermont-based jam band.
But The Strange Design has decided to go further than merely regurgitating the intricate songs that Phish produced. Instead, the band is recreating entire set lists from throughout Phish’s 20-year touring career and encouraging fans to submit requests for the show they’d like to see in their town.
The repertoire is expansive, the lighting elaborate and the preparation for each show enormous. The band listens to recordings, fans’ show reviews and watches videos of the set lists before performing them.
‘We try to model the sound [of the show] after the year and the types of jams Phish was doing,’ Levy explained. ‘We try to hold true to the style of each show and be as accurate as possible.’
Focusing on the Phish of the early-to-mid 1990s, widely regarded as the band’s golden age, The Strange Design is providing fans with their favorite shows in the same type of small, intimate venues that they were first played in, rather than the 70,000 strong festival atmospheres like the one that saw Phish play their final shows in Coventry, Vt., in 2004. On Oct. 2, 2008, Phish members announced that they would be getting back together for a special three-night run in Hampton, Va., in March of 2009, with an extended tour to be announced early next year. However, the reunion has not derailed The Strange Design.
‘It changes the trajectory and the plans a little bit,’ Markowitz admitted. ‘But they won’t be playing 150 shows a year anymore, and not everyone will get to see them.
‘The reunion will help us,’ Adam Chase added. ‘It increases the general buzz, gets people excited again.’
With Phish guitarist Trey Anastasio’s show the following evening at the Orpheum Theater already sold out, Boston jam fans will definitely be able to get their Phish phix with The Strange Design.
Set list requests for the Oct. 22 show in Boston can be submitted at or at

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