Has anyone seen roof of the Boom Boom Room in San Francisco?
It’s been missing since Saturday night when Skerik’s Bandalabra tour the roof off during their explosive 1st set.
If you are not familiar with Skerik, there is almost no way to understand what he’s about without hearing his music. But, I’ll start with the obvious: Skerik is an avante garde, or rather, multi-dimensional punk saxophonist from Seattle, WA. The uniqueness of his sound is facilitated both by his natural playing ability, but also by a large array of effects he has in his arsenal to make a noise-rock-jazz signature unlike any other saxophonist I’ve ever heard. If you go back to Michael Brecker in the 80’s and early 90’s, with his EWI, you still wouldn’t be that close to Skerik. Try adding some distortion. And delay. And pitch shift. There, that’s better.
I first discovered Skerik through a drummer I was playing with at the time, and their drop-everything-to-hear-this-band-live outfit called “SadHappy.” SadHappy consisted of the very brilliant Paul Hinklin on bass, Evan Schiller on drums, and of course Skerik on either the tenor or alto saxophone looped through effects and processing. The result was amazing, and even now when I listen to it 20 years later, I still find it to be as fresh and unique as when I first heard it back then.
Having filled in the backstory, one can only imagine how much Skerik has progressed in 20 years. It’s like the story is similar, but explained with a much richer vocabulary. In a way, I suppose I would describe it as more like “funk,” but it’s almost insulting to put this into a clearly labeled box. This is the stuff with which to scare your non-jazz listening friends.
The band also consists of bassist Evan-Flory Barnes, guitarist Andy Coe, and drummer Dvonne Lewis–all from Seattle’s small jazz and instrumental music circuit.
The real difference between seeing these guys live and listening to their records is the almost theatrical passion exuded in their playing style. The Deftones are less dramatic in their performance approach. What’s interesting is that all the jumping and moving around doesn’t take away from the technicality of the performance.
There’s something afro-cuban about the drumming style of Lewis, and it drove nearly everyone in the place to dance at least a little. San Francisco is not a tough crowd to get dancing. In a way, it is dance music–a hot, funky vibe merely a James Brown away from being classic.
Here’s a snippet from their show in Los Angeles in March: