Headtronics (Molitz, Logic, Freekbass) 1.28.11
Words By Burk Fuqua
Photos By Rex Thomson (Rex-A-Vison)
As the frigid winds blew through downtown streets, the heat was being turned up to full blast inside Cosmic Charlies, one of Lexington's premier music clubs. This hot spot for an eclectic blend of music, just blocks from The University of Kentucky's campus, has been resurrected to its former glory. This venue was once home to the famous Lygnah's Music Emporium through out most of the 90's, but sat empty and silent for many years. Much to the delight of the locals, top talent once again visits this Lexington landmark.
As friends began to gather and drinks began to pour we were treated to the sounds of Shemale Fiesta. A blend of Prog-Rock, Hip Hop, and Electronica. Shemale Fiesta had a bit of something to offer everyone, mixing together covers and original tunes. This sort of mashed up sound was a great indicator of the wonderful night to come.
The mood was set and the crowd was growing to maximum capacity when a true legend of the industry appeared from the shadows. He took his place in front of an array of mixers, turn tables and laptops. DJ Logic was in the house and he went straight to work laying down a low and grinding beat that was the foundation for a jaw dropping opening jam. After a few minutes from the mixmaster, the bass guitar phenomenon Freekbass joined the party and began a thunderous thumping that didn't relent for the rest of the evening. Rounding out the trio behind the keyboard stack is Steve Molitz. Molitz, who is best know from his work with Particle is exploring other avenues with his talents and let this be known when he took the stage and layered a very funky drive into the mix that already had the dance floor grooving.
Anyone of these musicians could hold the stage on their own, but together they formed the tightly woven supergroup Headtronics. I have to admit I am not always a fan of mixing DJ's in with live instruments. To me there is a fine line between genius, and the sound of some guys messing around in their garage. Headtronics sounded very smooth and well blended, but they managed to keep a raw sound that you would expect from the individuals. If you have never seen Freekbass live in person, it is hard to imagine the powerful energy that he brings to the stage. Compared to a young Les Claypool, Freekbass plays a funky hard driving form of slap bass that makes his sound very unique and appealing. With influences from both Punk and Funk, he regularly backs up legendary bass player Bootsy Collins.
Balancing him out on the other side of the stage Molitz added to the trebles and kept many of the jams up tempo with his lighting fast key work and rhythmic percussions. Back and forth they battled, one face melting break answered by another only to pull it all together for very clean pinnacles and finishes. Not to be outdone by the fancy finger work of his band mates, Logic took the spot light on numerous occasions to let fly on some old school funky scratchin'. Setting just the right beat and selecting the freshest voice overdubs, Logic entranced the dance floor with sets and resets forward and backward. The record went round and then came back the other way, and you got dropped of somewhere in the middle.
At times it was hard to decide where to direct my attention. From the back of the club I could appreciate the totality of the scene, all the musicians working together giving and receiving energy from the crowd. Up front I was mesmerized by the digits dancing across the frets and keys, the cool and efficient movements on knobs and turntables. It was a great mix, not just on the stage, but in the crowd. These all-stars brought out both those in the know, and those who just heard there was a good dance band. Regardless of your reason for showing up, there was no doubt there was a serious funky good time going down.
Headtronics have created a sound that defies any present genre. On paper you see a blend of Hip-Hop, Funk, and Jamtronica, but on stage you get something that is much different from any of those. They appeal to listener who wants to rage the dance floor, but is not willing to sacrifice face melting instrumentals to do so. The night of mash up was complete, when the after party DJ took the stage and the trio continued to jam with his tracks proving both their skill and versatility. I left the club with that warm fuzzy feeling you get when you know you got to see something very cool, and very limited, it was truly live art.