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Our NYC friends No Smoking Media have been putting on some consistently fantastic showcases lately. If you don't believe me, go check out their Benefit Concert for Bernie Sanders tonight at The Gateway in Brooklyn. Sadly, the fact that I occasionally have to do actual work to survive in this city is preventing me from enjoying this one, but I managed to swing by their killer showcase last Thursday at Palisades featuring one of the better bills I've seen in a while. All the way from LA, The Breathing Effect were accompanied by three local favorites: Zetetics, Altopalo, and The Pluto Moons. Pictures were taken. Notes have been written.
Also special shout out to Dominick Chang for the amazing visuals.
The Pluto Moons
I have a lot of respect for this band's recorded work, ever since I heard their 2013 record Mannequin Legs. But I didn't realize, until I actually found myself standing in front of them, that I've never seen them live. It was a strange feeling.
Pretty much everything I personally love about music is exemplified in the work of The Pluto Moons. Their musicianship is even more pronounced live, where they take their audience on an awe-inspiring, genre-bending joy ride that's as mesmerizing as it is oddly comforting—it lets you know that there might be someone in this world as crazy as you.
I've had my eye on Amani Fela ever since I happened to see him play in some girl's living room for an art opening a few years ago. I remember, at the end of that show, going up to him and expressing my gratitude at seeing a contemporary of mine rap with so much style and intellect. I'm glad to see he's still at it.
Zetetics are an interesting group. Simply saying they're a hip-hop collective doesn't really do them justice. All four members come together to form a style that's wholly unique, delivering beautiful poetry enveloped in a sonic tapestry that takes inspiration from hip-hop, jazz, funk, and psychedelic music. And they absolutely kill it live.
Followers of the blog know my love for Altopalo. This concert was really no different, and by that I mean they haven't deviated from their incredibly impressive past performances.
The Breathing Effect
The Breathing Effect's self-titled 2014 EP has been one of my most played records since its release lat February (the day after my birthday, actually). These guys are incredibly tight and easily some of the most talented musicians I've seen assembled on a stage this year. They fly through dense soul-, rock-, and jazz-inspired arrangements with an ease that could only come across as the epitome of cool. In a lot of ways, I'm reminded of the stories my dad tells me of seeing Herbie Hancock during his Headhunters tour, and you can't get much better than that.