Wednesday, September 9, 2009

BLK JKS Played SOB's For Their Record Release - Pictures, Review

Last night we stopped in at SOB's and caught up with South Africa's BLK JKS: the band was on hand to kick off a North American tour and celebrate the release of their first full length record, After Robots. Given the increased production and instrumentation over their debut EP, we were curious how the new material would play out in the live environment. Well, the answer, to put is succinctly, was this: very well.

Before BLK JKS hit the stage, we caught the one-man-show of HIGHLIFE. Wahs Salguod's act consisted of singing, playing guitar, and playing pump organ over a prerecorded/sampled set of backing tracks. While the one-man setup had the effect of reducing stage presence a bit, we certainly still found ourselves digging the set. While we think he could benefit from dragging a band into the mix, we definitely are going to brush up on his recorder output.

From there, we were psyched to get on to the main event. We had caught BLK JKS in San Francisco back in May, and were blown away by the performance. Last night's show had the added advantage of us having heard the band's full length, allowing for a much greater familiarity with the material. Given that some of the band's output can be a tad challenging, familiarity goes a long way in getting into their live show.

Still, even without being versed in the band's output, there's more than a little to appreciate. BLK JKS are simply such a well honed unit, that their performance is a technical wonder to behold. They ebb and flow on the brink of chaos and dischord, while managing to never stumble over the cliff into the abyss. Each of the players is unquestionably adept, but the combination of the four is the real "secret sauce".

What they then do from there is even more remarkable: the band creates a sonic palette that manages to draw upon every genre and context imaginable, and in the process creates something utterly unique. Whether it be Lindani Buthelezi's searing guitars and smooth vocals, Tshepang Ramoba's frenetic drums and sound effects, or simply the entire band's ability to lock into a solid funky groove, it all provided an unparalleled live experience. Go. See it. Now.

mp3: BLK JKS - Molalatladi

BLK JKS Fall 2009 Tour Dates
09/18 Urbana, IL The Canopy Club—Pygmalion Festival
09/19 Madison, WI The Stage Door—Forward Music Festival
09/20 Chicago, IL Bottom Lounge
09/21 Chicago, IL The Hideout
09/22 Pontiac, MI The Pike Room
09/24 Minneapolis, MN Global Roots Festival
09/26 Bloomington, IN Lotus Festival
09/29 Washington, D.C. Black Cat


Satisfied '75 said...

Thanks for hipping me to your post. Also, love that Highlife was on that bill too!

Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

BLK JKS are quite possibly the best band of right bloody now, great images BTW.