Aaron-Spencer C: Authenticity and flare are just two components that give quality bands the ability to reshape an entire genre, creating sounds that take it into another direction. This is something that Los Angeles band, The Internet, showcased on Sunday at XOYO in east-London, UK.
Following their stellar performance at Gilles Peterson’s Worldwide Awards on Saturday, The Internet showcased their versatility and broad list of musical arrangements as part of the official event afterparty. The eclectic atmosphere was already set in stone, as the band — that night consisting of Syd (vocals), Patrick Paige (bass guitar), Christopher Smith (drums), Matt Martians (keytar) and Jameel Bruner on the keys, in place of Tay Walker — prepared to replicate the same level of energy that put them on the radar of the many blogs, websites and YouTube music channels that have given praise to the young musicians.
From the jump, the crowd were submerged into a soulful jazz underworld of rhythms from both their latest LP, Feel Good, and their debut release Purple Naked Ladies. The range of tracks created an electric presence that carried itself throughout the night, as each song brought its own flavour.
The array of different grooves were set to make the show an interesting one. The band unleashed their single, “Don’t Cha”, from the Feel Good album. The crisp sounds of both the keytar and keyboard, powerhouse drum kicks and clean high notes that Syd delivers on the chorus, made “Don’t Cha” come to life in a refreshing way. But it was the improvisation that demonstrated the entire band’s capabilities of playing melodies on a whim.
Patrick Paige put a nice spin on “Don’t Cha” with a short guitar solo, which showcased his ability to create chord arrangements that complimented the song. However it was his enthusiastic work on the mellow bass that gave a special funk element to the songs performed throughout the night.
It was pleasant to hear the strength of the bass, as often in live shows bass players find themselves struggling to achieve a presence amongst the strength of the other instruments, but with The Internet, this was not the case. Patrick Paige’s form on the bass alongside his fellow band mates was far beyond the norm and exciting to hear.
It’s this unique capability to read each other very well that made the various switch-ups on the night, a pleasant experience. This was something that one of the stand-out tracks that night, “Partners In Crime Part Two”, made use of with the original arrangement featuring small funky add-ins, proving that there is a synergy among the friends that could only stem from hours of impromptu jam sessions.
The ante was up consistently, but especially as the album closer on The Internet’s Purple Naked Ladies LP, pushed the air around the kick and snare of the drum out into oblivion as Christopher Smith entered a powerful drum break for “The Garden”. It was one for long-time fans and newcomers to appreciate, as Syd chopped up the short lyrics adding a nice touch to what is essentially a spacey mid-tempo outro. Smith had been effortlessly beating out the different drum kick, snare and hi-hat patterns, giving the audience that all-important hit in the chest, especially with the top-level sound quality. It was great to get those loud yet nicely controlled drum rhythms that could have been taken directly from the recorded LP itself.
“Loving you’s so wonderful, like butterflies and waterfalls…” The flow on “Cloud of Our Own” saw The Internet riding on a nice set of arrangements that had the crowd bopping to that intriguing deep buzz sound that carries the track and the fast skipping beat. It was a live song that had the crowd familiar with another side to the band — a plethora of influences including soul, acid jazz and funk all flipped in The Internet’s signature way.
When watching Matt Martians on stage, it is a great sight to see him in his element. His steady timing on the keytar provided futuristic synths and other sounds, as well as his use of the shaker which added a nice subtle layer on top of the other instrumentals. It’s also undeniable that Matt’s numerous facial expressions showed a producer who was excited to experience the feeling of the hard work from the studio, come to life as a live show for fans who were totally fixed on each and every lyric and musical piece.
Casting a silk blanket of slow-tempo soul over the crowd, “Shadow Dance” was a chance to feel the band’s dreamy music notes which eased the atmosphere into a soothing intimate scene, which when paired with the ballad-esque tones of Syd’s voice, was a vibe reminiscent of the ’90s MTV Unplugged sessions.
One of the most crowd-chanting songs was “She Dgaf”, the third track from the album Purple Naked Ladies. The easy-going and conversational attitude of the song’s verses, plus the ‘no f***s given’ lyrics of the chorus had many in the crowd singing along with Syd, which emphasised the connection the band had with their loyal followers.
Interacting well with the crowd was a noticeable quality that Syd had during the set — a visible charismatic personality added to the ambience within XOYO’s walls. Her calming yet compelling way, along with that notorious leaning-stop dance make Syd a colourful character.
But it’s the moments that have the lead singer zoning out, that truly show the relationship she has with the songs’ lyrics.They send Syd into a whirlwind of memories, which adds to her delicate vocal style. Listening to the live rendition of lines from songs such as “Cloud of Our Own” and “Pupil / The Patience”, adds to the purity of the experience.
Throughout The Internet’s set, keyboard player Jameel Bruner (younger brother of musician, Thundercat) displayed a special finesse on the keys that added a nice touch to the soul that was coming through from all members on stage. It was amazing to see how he flowed naturally adding flavour, that gave off an almost James Poyser vibe. There was also a nice moment between Bruner and Paige as they attempted to blend their own melodies together just before going into the next song — a cool snap-shot moment of how the band members gel musically.
The surprise highlight came as Syd, like in numerous interviews, made known that The Internet’s favourite band was Jamiroquai, which made for a great opportunity to suddenly slip into an incredible ode to the British band. The infamous acid jazz classic “Too Young To Die” was turned into a super-fly display of what happens when musicians truly study their art to perfection and those that came before them.
The entire hour-long set at XOYO that night was filled with musicianship that could only be birthed from a collective of individuals who have respect for all elements of good music and sincerely enjoy performing for an audience. The Internet were consistent throughout with a vibrancy that only good chemistry, unlimited creativity and confidence could provide.
Based on this performance alone, The Internet are sure enough in line to become the live band of choice for many across 2014.
To keep up with The Internet visit www.internet-band.com
Aaron-Spencer C: Live music that brings an eclectic palette of lucid musicianship and meaningful lyrical content never fails to paint vivid images that inspire crowds, that are often made up of genuine music fans and aspiring artists alike.
This unique effect of live music will be in the air at Gilles Peterson’s Worldwide Awards 2014 on 18 January at north-London’s KOKO venue — an event dedicated to a roster of the most charismatic talent to grace music, both new and veteran.
The Worldwide Awards is now in its ninth year and has grown considerably, since its first show in 2004 at east-London’s Cargo. Each of the artists set to perform have paved their way through the music industry conjuring up sizable followings and raising interest among journalists, A&Rs and laying foundations for aspiring artists to learn from…
Ady Suleiman > Making noise by way of gig venues, performances at Dot To Dot Festival and Glastonbury, Ady Suleiman has demonstrated the ability to display his confident vocal tone and distinctive singing flow. With life-reflecting lyrics and skills on the acoustic guitar. BBC Introducing and 1Xtra Homegrown are just two of the large catalogue of outlets who have been praising the youngster’s musical capabilities.
Andrew Ashong > Mr Ashong took home the Worldwide Award for Track of The Year in 2013, after his first solo release (via Theo Parrish’s Signature Sound label) attracted attention with the track “Flowers”. The versatility in Andrew Ashong’s style of music is evident with each of his tracks; the soul-laced funk and easing harmonies, make much of his music perfect for a Sunday afternoon recline.
Cid Rim > Hailing from Vienna, Cid Rim is a master of drum-and-synth compositions. His origins began with piano music but his passion for the drums and his inspiration for sequencer programs, led Cid Rim down a truly unique creative path that has resulted in deep yet clean experimental electronica with his drum work being some of the most captivating across the genre. Cid Rim’s 2012 self-titled album and the Mute City EP from 2013, via LuckyMe Records, provide pleasant musical trips far outside any generic norms.
Jimi Tenor > An all-encompassing artist whose career spans over two decades, Jimi Tenor has been producing music with a truly dynamic ethos behind it — taking influences from jazz, experimental rock and psychedelic soul. Having released numerous albums on Warp Records (e.g, Intervision, Organism et al) and Sähkö recordings (Cosmic Relief, Utopian Dream et al), Jimi Tenor is a musical legend who has created material catered to those unafraid of exploring sounds that reach all moods.
Jonwayne > Jonwayne lays down poetry that causes ears to catch each line full of metaphors and similes that make it evident that he has studied the lyrical game inside-out, to produce a new twist on it. Originally producing hip-hop beats and churning out mixtapes, Jonwayne caught the attention of Stones Throw Records’ Peanut Butter Wolf, who signed him as an emcee. Since that moment Jonwayne has continued to create beats and verses that prove to be forward-thinking and charismatic, no matter who rides the beat, or what beat he rides on. His Rap Album One was released in 2013 with Oodles of Doodles as the predecessor LP.
Kyodai > Kyodai have been taking their instrumental dance records to new heights ever since their debut EP, Mi Rumba, left ripples of delight among man dance music fans with their fusion of genres within the production and mixes. The duo (whose band name means ‘brothers’ in Japanese) then produced their Breaking EP via the Local Talk label and have continued to spin a succession of shows internationally including Wanderlust in Paris and Nu Spirit Club in Bratislava. Kyodai provide a refreshing angle to House music, while also paying homage to the ’90s philosophy.
Swindle > Swindle is an all-round musician whose music blends a range of influences into his own dubstep style. In 2013 Swindle (who has produced for Professor Green and Roll Deep) released his debut LP Long Live The Jazz, which was a highly satisfying body of work that gave fans of instrumental music an insight into what happens when UK grime and dubstep meets soul, funk, jazz and electro.
— Terri Walker sets the bar high when it comes to R&B music. The London-born singer has grown through each stage of her career; from her debut album Untitled, through to her 2008 LP Walk With Me and work with fellow vocalist, Nicole Wray as the duo Lady. Terri remains an artist with a distinctive form of soul music and has proved that longevity in European R&B-soul is possible.
The Internet > From a world doused in soul music, The Internet maintains its unique position as the groovy duo in the Odd Future collective. Consisting of vocalist and producer Syd and producer Matt Martians, this band has impressed many with live grooves and sultry lyrics. The debut release Purple Naked Ladies was a success and now, The Internet ‘s recent sophomore LP, Feel Good, does just that — successfully makes you feel good.
Toddla T > Toddla T controls the rhythm and reworks the melodies like a true DJ, as the BBC Radio 1 spinner continues to make instrumentals that span across dance music’s electro, house and garage vibes through to hip-hop and dancehall influences. His 2009 debut album Skanky Skanky, presented listeners with Toddla T’s thumping drums, vibrating frequencies and perfect roster of collaborations. His sophomore Watch Me Dance elevated this format and has had Toddla T in high demand as a DJ and producer, ever since.
Valerie June > A stand-out musician who has propelled her music from a genre arguably considered an international niche, to a mainstream gem, sought after by many fans of folk lyricism and traditional country blues. June’s Memphis, Tennessee roots have been effective in the production of her 2006 self-released-debut LP The Way of the Weeping Willow, and still holds itself strong with her most recent offering, Pushin’ Against A Stone.
For tickets to Gilles Peterson’s Worldwide Awards 2014, click here.
For everything Gilles Peterson visit www.gillespetersonworldwide.com
Aaron-Spencer C: Some of the greatest live music sets are from bands that transcend cultural boundaries, so it was refreshing to experience Lokandes — a Latin American fusion band rich in traditional sounds — perform at the Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall on Saturday evening.
Consisting of band members Ayoze Hernandez-Lopez, Kieffer Santander, Feng Bao, Yuri Betancourt, Jeanette Rojas (also known as Phaxsi Coca) and frontman Kanti Qena, Lokandes have grown as a musical entity with deep Andean roots, merged well with influences from across many countries. The eclectic mix of heritage within the band (Peruvian, Bolivian, Chilean, Spanish, British and Colombian) has resulted in Lokandes’ distinctive style, which has seen the band perform at a range of venues and festivals over the recent years.
Saturday’s show opened with tropical flavours dowsed over a smooth, almost acid jazz-influenced rhythm, with their song “Tata Inti” — a record with a very scenic instrumental that perfectly demonstrated the individual range of sounds from each of the band’s instruments. The congas, acoustic and bass guitars, charango, drums and Andean panpipes. It was an introduction that held true to Lokandes’ well-known fusion style, as the up-tempo jazzy vibe together with the indigenous feel brought two worlds in one space.
It’s these Andean panpipes that become the noticeable signature gem throughout Lokandes’ sound, providing the cultural backbone to the many of the rhythms.
The band moved on to perform “Waltz”, taking the mood down to a slower, more traditional pace. Kanti Qena’s sense of melody on the charango saw him create a harp-like effect, giving a calming tone to the aura of the song. The guitar then picked-up-pace with a quicker Spanish tempo.
One of the stand-out tracks, “El Cafe de la Abuela” was an exquisite combination of flutes and both the acoustic and bass guitars. It’s easy to sense that Lokandes truly love and respect the music they create, as it’s transmitted through their stage presence. On this particular song, the cajon and cajita wooden percussion instruments ride the track well underneath the other sounds.
"Raza Aymara" demonstrated again, Lokandes’ ability to rock out at any tempo, with the song switching tones and tempos multiple times. At this point in the show, the band had already done enough to satisfy many of those who were new to the group’s sound, all the while, keeping their existing fans recognising why they enjoyed the band’s music in the first place.
One thing to note is Lokandes’ lyrical content, which comes from a place of pride and security in oneself. “Sudaka” — a beautiful ode to South Americans working hard and being proud of who they are — was an opportunity to feel the conscious spirit of the group, with the lyrics being carried by some small elements of Cuban son music.
The global sound that Lokandes produces allows ears to catch a different part of the Americas with each song; from snippets of Brazilian rhythms to one-drop reggae flavours, Lokandes are professionals at bringing different musical formats together and creating a entire new sound.
"Lokoton" was the closing song for the evening, giving the crowd an upbeat mix of Colombian cumbia, Ecuadorian flavours and much more. The ambience at the Royal Festival Hall was uplifted from the time the Lokandes band members stepped on stage and hit their first notes, however, "Lokoton" brought a vitality that proved to be an undeniably to end the evening.
The audience helped Lokandes bring the show to a close by dancing and rhythmically clapping to the genius hybrid of notes.
Lokandes showcased how to present multiple areas of Latin American music into one entity. The melodic expressions from the Andean, Afro-Latino and Spanish aspects of South American culture resulted in a powerhouse of string and wind symphonies, and booming drums that left the audience anticipating in which direction the band were going to take them next, on what was essentially a journey through Latin America.
Lokandes are fully dedicated to representing culture through experimenting with their art, something that the band achieves with the confidence of contemporary artists, but the heart and soul of musicians who respect traditional styles.
To give the crowd a Latin experience the way this band did, is to successfully birth an entire generation of new fans to the Lokandes sound…world music at its finest…
Aaron-Spencer C: Lightning bolts of brass band-induced energy filled the Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall on Saturday evening, with the Hackney Colliery Band responsible for each and every strike.
Far from the traditional colliery set-up the Hackney Colliery band have been delivering hits to the eardrums since coming together in 2008, consisting of a 9-piece ensemble putting a completely funky twist on the brass band sound.
The powerful trumpet from band frontman, Steve Pretty, was an instant hit in the chest, quickly accompanied by the brass and percussion instruments of fellow band mates, Mike Lesirge (alto sax), Jeff Miller (Sousaphone) and Luke Christie and Olly Blackman (Drums), as they opened up with a buzzing set of melodies that showcased the uptempo jazz-influenced synergy between the players. Although the remaining number of original band members couldn’t make it that evening, it didn’t stop the temporary fillers on the tenor saxophone, trombones and trumpet from learning the quick-fire funkadelics of the Hackney Colliery band ethos.
The following song was a rendition of Kanye West’s “All of The Lights”, which saw the energy increase in the venue as the entire brass family nailed the trumpet sections originally found in the song’s chorus, yet adding their special flare to it. The sound was so clear that you’d think they were the musicians Mr West had recorded with in the studio.
British songstress Adele, had her number one hit, “Rolling In The Deep” performed flawlessly with the band brassing-out not only the chorus, but the lines from each verse, accurately re-designing her vocal ranges. It’s worth mentioning that this was one of the band’s covers featured as part of their successful performance at the Closing Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics.
If that wasn’t enough, British songstress Lianne La Havas was given a high-energy makeover as the band performed “Is Your Love Big Enough?” which saw crowd-clapping participation. The interactive element of the Hackney Colliery Band’s performance was something that added to the show, and also opened up the somewhat conservative Southbank crowd, who although were very much into the performance, were yet to get up and dance (something that was soon to change with the next roll of songs).
The infamous “Prodigy Medley” put the pedal-to-the-metal and took the already life-pumping sounds to a higher level. Three of The Prodigy’s classic hits – “Jericho”, “Out of Space” and “No Good (Start The Dance)” – were covered to a degree of perfection that makes the word ‘amazing’ an understatement. It emphasised the band’s ability to mirror the pace of tracks from across genres.
Of course it wasn’t only the cover songs that uplifted the Royal Festival Hall. Taken from their latest sophomore LP Common Decency, the band unleashed funk with “Smile For The Webcam”, a jam that went down well with the good number of gyrating and popping audience members. The unintentional dance spaces at either side of the stage found themselves quickly filled.
It’s easy to notice Hackney Colliery Band’s dynamic jazz origins, with powerful rhythms and synchronised runs, yet there were many great moments of freestyling across all four core instruments, although it would have been great to get a solo from the Sousaphone (watching Jeff Miller get down across the stage with such a heavy instrument, while hitting each bass note perfectly, is great to see).
From the first trumpet holler to the very last pound of the percussion drums, The Hackney Colliery Band played at the Southbank Centre with such vitality, completely redefining the musical norms of the colliery band label in a way that could only inspire like-minded musicians…
For more of the Hackney Colliery Band check out www.hackneycollieryband.co.uk
Vote for the Hackney Colliery Band for the Songlines World Music Awards 2014 here.
Londoners, you can catch the Hackney Colliery Band once a month at the infamous Ronnie Scotts.
Recommended Listen: Prodigy Medley // All of the Lights (Kanye West) // “Is Your Love Big Enough?” (Lianne La Havas) // “Rolling In The Deep” (Adele) // “Under The Bridge” (Red Hot Chilli Peppers) // No Diggity (Blackstreet cover)