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Experimenting with Grex

Guaranteed, there will be no show in Eugene that sounds like the one Luckey’s is hosting Dec. 15. Opening with the tango tales of Mood Area 52, followed by the sweet instrumentation and vocals of the Bay Area’s Jack ‘O The Clock (whose drummer Jordan Glenn is an Eugene native), San Francisco band Grex will tie a bow on the night with their experimental jazz-rock fusion.

Grex, featuring newlyweds Margaret Rei Scampavia (vocals, piano, tenor saxophone, percussion) and Karl Alfonso Evangelista (vocals, guitar, percussion), came together “in and around the Mills College music axis, late-night inside jokes and intense dissections of South African music, emphasizing genre-bending, cross-idiomatic conceits and melding elements of mostly everything.” 

 “I’ve traditionally been a jazz musician,” Evangelista tells EW, while his wife: “Her background is traditionally in rock.” This makes for an otherworldly experience that, while drawing on the sounds of Jimi Hendrix and classic jazz, creates something completely original, especially on tracks like “Stump F***ers” and “Bistellar” from their 2011 album Second Marriage: A Very Long Engagement. The duo’s sparse vocals can come off as delightfully haunting, a grittier version of She and Him. 

Evangelista says that many listeners assume their songs are about love and relationships, but Grex typically draws inspiration from history and science — Scampavia is also an entomologist who studies bees. (Grex, afterall, is defined as a multicellular aggregate of the groups of Acrasiomycota or Dictyosteliida for the purposes of travel and food collection — whatever the hell that means.) Evangelista also pulls from his roots in a jazz-inflected series of tunes, incorporating his family’s immigrant journey from the Philippines to the U.S.

Grex, Jack ‘O The Clock and Mood Area 52 play 10 pm Saturday, Dec. 15, at Luckey’s, $5.