Updated: Aug 22
Welcome to the 1st edition in $™'s Live Review Series where we detail the sights, sounds & experiences created by the artists of The Peanut Gallery as witnessed first-hand by the curators of The Peanut Gallery! So, without any further ado:
It's a special kind of night when two PG artists share the same stage. It's especially special when the show is in support of a brand new, highly anticipated album release (vinyl/digital formats) from Other Families titled MOONROCK! But, we'll get to that in a bit... The first PG act to hit the stage are the uniquely Progressive Jazz/Hip-Hop Trio...
Well, just peel me off the floor...these guys are unreal! Already impressed by their recorded output, seeing them live is a whole 'nother experience not to be missed, take it from me. Every member of the band is grounded by mutual rhythmic understanding unlike anything you'll find anywhere else. What is essentially a three-piece rhythm section (vox/keys, bass, drums), they move as a complete unit. Every bit of intention comes through as evidenced by the uncontrollable impulse to bob one's head -- even during the most complex passages, the ultra-defined sense of groove carries you through. (And just so we're all clear, this is not easy to do, actually it's insanely difficult, sooo tricky!) To sort out all this metric stuff in a jamspace is one thing, to absolutely nail it in front of a live audience is another. Victor Ray Xu deserves a large portion of the credit as the main mind behind the music. His thoughtful lyrical approach and brilliant delivery are certainly the basis for the musical direction (not to mention his stellar keyboard work), but w/o a bass 'n' drum duo like Cam & Stu backing him up, translating these ideas would be a struggle at the best of times. Together these fine human_people are ushering a new era of hip-hop, one that crosses genre-lines to expose new audiences to a form of music that most think they already know. Have a listen, you might just find you don't know a damn thing (yet).
Next up! Electro/Punk/Jazz/Multi-Media/DIY outfit...
One of, if not the, most unpredictable acts currently on the PG roster, Other Families always make a splash w/ their eccentric blend of genre manipulation performed w/ a unique flare for the theatrical which finds skilled human_musicians working in conjunction w/ bits 'n' bytes, blurring the lines between man and tech. As the release party for their newest album, MOONROCK, the band treated all of us frothing onlookers to a set comprised of this latest work in its entirety, only backward. Having only seen live vids of O.F in the past, and never anticipating that they may take the form of a jazz band (even wondering what "jazz" actually meant when they announced this is what they were doing), this evening promised surprises even to those familiar w/ their back catalogue. Well, SURPRISE! (But not really...) They're AWESOME! (Likely an understatement.)
So, where to begin? The first thing that attracted me to the Other Families brand is the apparent depth of their concept in all aspects -- composition, lyrics and aesthetic. Now, that doesn't mean I know what the hell is really going on here, but that's a big part of what's so intriguing (and guessing games are fun too, methinks). The fact that you can really sink your teeth into the details of their multi-media projects and musical worx is something that speaks to the dedication of the group. Furthermore, watching as Jesse Manou (bass/synth/electronics) feverishly performs 3 tasks at once in contrast w/ lead vocalist/old-time-y trumpeter, Jackson Welchner, smoothly operating from centre-stage creates a dynamic all its own. Add to that drummer Paul Geldart's quirky fascination w/ the light-reflective properties of cymbals alongside vocalist/keyboardist Kaiva Gotham's straight-faced demeanor as she incorporates vox-fx through spoken-word segments, only occasionally letting the energy of the music break through deadpan veneer...and I've already forgotten how I started this sentence.
Now, this is only the beginning, because the music stands tall all on its own. There are many interesting compositional devices at play -- probably the best example going of music engineered to the smallest detail to sound as if it's barely under control. This is no small feat. I once wrote that O.F's music may seem indicative of multiple-personality disorder, but the fact that the band marries these personalities in such a cohesive/disjointed manner all at once is a true credit to the level of creativity and musicianship among all members. I suppose all I can say is thank you for taking the time to make something truly remarkable for all of us weirdos to enjoy. So, yeah, thanx guyzzz!
Oops! Something went wrong. I nearly forgot about...
Umm...actually I guess I did kinda forget about Baby Labour. My bad, I feel terrible, maybe I was too stoned or something, parking was a bitch, excuses, excuses, shame on me. Watching these guys pack up their gear was pretty okay...but I'm sure being there to see them use their gear would have been a lot better. Next time guys, for sure, next time.
Tasty beer (it's a brewery, after all), clean & friendly environment, had a bit of a tough time finding the place, but what a beautiful, intimate venue obviously managed by people who care. It seems to me someone is making their dream a reality w/ this fine establishment. Recommended to friends!
And that brings us to the end of our 1st in $™'s Live Review Series! Stay tuned in the future for more about the fantastic world of live music from in and around the GTA as brought to you by the curation staff @The Peanut Gallery.
That's for folks, now all!