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Improv rock and folk band hosts a dance party at the Ashland Community Center

Ashland band Still Lookin' likes to play at parties. The six-piece improvisational rock and folk group looks for festive events, such as Halloween parties, Mardi Gras' Fat Tuesdays and the Fourth of July.

"So when the vernal equinox landed on a Saturday this year, I thought 'why not?' and rented the Ashland Community Center for a concert," says rhythm guitarist Judd Pindell. "The equinox is an ancient festival day."

The concert and dance party to celebrate the first day of spring will be at 7 p.m. Saturday, March 21, at the community center, 59 Winburn Way, right across the street from Lithia Park. Revelers can bring their dancing shoes and their kids. The show is open to all ages, and admission is just $2.

"We've made food and beverages available at other dance parties we've hosted," Pindell says. "But there won't be any such thing at this one."

The original formation of Still Lookin' transpired about 10 years ago, with mandolin player Lori Plaxe, Terry Miner on guitar and Frank Dunlap on saxophone. The three musicians played in different configurations with others, including one project called The Myopics. 

Around five years ago, Plaxe, Miner and Dunlap were joined by bass player Craig Johnson. Soon after came drummer Bill Exley and then Pindell. 

"We've been playing together on and off since," Pindell says. 

Energized by its 2014 performance at the Oregon Country Fair, Still Lookin’ serves up a mix of original rock tunes sprinkled with old-time jazz and traditional favorites. 

Saturday's show will open with an acoustic set and end with an electric set of music.

"Our acoustic set is usually originals," Pindell says. "The feel is like jug band or bluegrass music, with Lori on mandolin. We might cover George Gershwin's 'Ain't Necessarily So,' a standard from 'Porgy and Bess,' and 'Summertime' from the same musical. We also play old traditionals that no one really knows who wrote, like 'Don't Let Your Deal Go Down,' an old bluegrass ramblin' tune, along with spiritual tunes like 'The Battle of Jericho.' "

Audiences also could look for the much-covered New Orleans song "Iko Iko," Neil Young's "Ready for the Country" or the Grateful Dead's "Bertha."

Pindell writes original music, Plaxe is a songwriter and lyricist, and Minor is the band's hit maker, Pindell says.

"He's a prolific songwriter and has a ton of songs that he performs," he says. "That's our strength. My stuff is lyrical and leans toward jazzy, and Lori is a talented singer, but she'll typically showcase her instrumentation."

The band's electric set, which will begin around 9 p.m., will be driven by energetic original rock songs, along with covers of a few perennial favorites from the world of rock 'n' roll.

"We trade our acoustic instruments for electric guitars for the second set," Pindell says. "Lori trades her mandolin for an electric guitar. Most of it is original music. We'll play three or four covers some nights."

The band moves into uncharted territory during its electric set. It's members become driven by the improvisational component, Pindell says.

"We'll play extended pieces, or play a song that will morph into jam and segue into another song. Sometimes our form may suffer, but we make up for it in creativity and spontaneity. You never know when that spark is going to hit. When it does, it's magic."