MusicMarauders Presents: The New Mastersounds 11.16.12
Cervantes Masterpiece Ballroom
Words & Photos By Brad Yeakel
I was standing in the bathroom when the drums of Simon Allen boomed to life with a beat tighter than jeggings. His piccolo snare drum had that super-taut snapping sound distinctive of nice clean funk and his high-hat sizzled in staccato syncopation. Throughout the night, his beats were infectious, inspired, lively and precise. Crisper than a PBR from the bottom of a hipster's cooler. I was reminded of Adam Deitch and that began a night of music that continuously brought me back to comparisons to Lettuce. While we are on that subject, Eric Krasno (Lettuce, Soulive) and Eddie Roberts, guitarist of the New Mastersounds seem like they have to be cousins, right? Aside from the jazz-funk guitar virtuosity, they seem to bear a slight resemblance in appearance as well. Maybe it is just because they both have style. Roberts' suit and tie set a sort of tone that matched the music… sly, sophisticated, hip and daring in a conservative sort of way. He looked like he may have been the Master of Ceremonies for a burlesque jazz cafe with his exaggerated English facial hair and snappy dressing and it all added to the flair.
Pete Shand, the bassist, hails from Majorca, Spain and brought a certain flavor to the funk that wasn't Latin in style, yet exhibited a free, fun, suave flare that jives with the Spanish lifestyle of afternoon naps, sangria sunsets and all night parties. He was fun to listen to and appeared to enjoy practicing his craft. His tone was round, thick and punchy with a svelte side that made it aerodynamic and swift. He glided beneath the guitar and organ like a stingray of stealthy, smooth motion you could hear. Breezy, fluid, casual, yet ambitious, energetic and vibrant. Work well done.
With such talent on display, it was easy to understand the wall to wall movement. Girls were shaking their asses, dudes, just trying to keep up. The stairs to the balcony were guarded as a VIP area. When I asked the bouncer what the VIP area was for, he said that the owners sometimes have a VIP area for when their favorite bands come to town... And NMS was apparently one of their favorites. The number of extended VIP wristbands continued to grow throughout the evening. As more and more cousins, homies, clients, associates and drinking buddies were brought to the gatekeeper, he graciously admitted almost all of them. Vouching was the word of the day, and I saw those who were vouched for return to vouch for others. It was a charade of exclusivity, but everyone was having a great time as the colorful crowd become a writhing organism of bobbing heads and swiveling hips.
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