Bay Area Scene: Toubab Krewe & John Browns Body
4.19.2010 @ The Independent; San Francisco, CA
Starting my Monday off was a quick text to J-Man to firm up the guestlist spot for the night. After arriving in San Fran and receiving conformation, I headed to The Independent, a favorite of locals and a few blocks over from The Haightt. Being a small “black box” style venue it is a pretty basic set up holding only about 350 people packed to the gills. Being such a small venue lends itself to intimate shows, the stage is only a few feet up, visibility everywhere is perfect, and the sound is on point. As I walked into the main room I was surprised to find no more than twenty people, chalking this up to everyone moving a little slow tonight I took advantage of the opportunity to post up at the bar and catch a drink or two before I had to fight for an order. While I was throwing back a few I began conversing with a couple that had sidled up next to me already celebrating the coming holiday in a hardly inconspicuous fashion. They were JBB fans and had never seen Toubab live. I informed them they were in for quite a show and they informed me I was in for the same with JBB. At this point The Krewe came on stage; almost immediately the room began to fill up as they slammed out a heavy 51 foot ladder that progressed into a high energy jam that got everyone’s minds and body’s spinning.
From there it only got better; with about 200 people throwing down this small place on a Monday night the whole bar began to pulsate with a strong tribal vibe that is such a familiar and awesome theme of TK shows. The walls were thumping, the Bay mama’s shaking and groovin, and the connection to the band was palpable. There was more fire in the bands eyes than I have ever seen, as they rocked out their heavily distorted “Cluck Old Hen”; an almost Claypool esque mountain get down. After getting everyone’s blood boiling they slowed it down a little with some dreamy harvest music that was more reminiscent of the TK that I had come to know. This is when I decided that a few more crown and cokes would be a good idea to really get moving with everyone else. Along with some fine local flavors I was ready for Round two. After a short walk in the grasslands they threw us right back into the new sound, this time belting out a heavy psychedelic masterpiece of interweaving sonic vibes that kept flashing me back to Pink Floyd’s Live from Pompeii. This seemed to be the peak of the show, how in sync they were with each other was amazing. It seemed as if every note they played was pure magic expressed through pure joy. After what I thought couldn’t be taken any higher they busted out a bone crunching drum session that left everyone out of breath and ready for more. At this point the horns section from JBB joined TK for a punchy horn driven funk fest, bringing the whole room to a frenzy, capitalizing on this they closed things out with a simply mind blowing “Sirens.”
As Toubab Krewe packed up and cleared out I started to get that feeling that I should be heading back to the hotel to get some sleep due to obligations early that next morning, not to mention having tied on quite a few and wookin out for the last couple hrs. Determined to stay for John Browns Body I slammed another drink and shot the breeze with some really cool people that live in Yellowstone, about planning outdoor events who seemed interested in picking up TK and JBB for such an event. Good people that I hope to work with on future projects. Making their way back to the stage JBB opened with what could only be described as smiling reggae, that smile spread to everyone’s face in the crowd including my own. Having never seen JBB before I was enjoying the kind of good feeling you can only get from some new reggae, sweat, and booze. After a few more songs they took us into some really creative ska-like jams; unfortunately at this point I realized the time, and had to make the difficult decision to leave and head back for some sleep. From what I saw JBB has a strong and progressive sound and I hope to catch more of them in the near future. Toubab Krewe’s performance was phenomenal; the vibe created was the best I’ve felt in a room in what seems like forever. It seems they have reached a place as a band where they are comfortable and on point enough to take this music to whatever realm they can imagine.
Stay tuned for more from the Bay Area scene...
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