Colorado’s J.Wail has taken things into his own hands as far as booking tours is concerned. With his own production company Bridging the Music, he seeks local openers for tours with friends that will make sure the widest possible audience gets to hear his combination of live instrumentation and electronic wizardry. Last night in Philadelphia that included yours truly spinning an opening DJ set. Once I was done, local jam band Catullus took the stage. Their sound is truly all-encompassing, with electronic elements, funky basslines, prog-like guitar heroics, rock drums and drum machines all peacefully coexisting within one group. Occasionally a vocal even makes it into the mix, though the focus here is clearly on getting the audience dancing, rather than singing, along. The five piece had trouble fitting on the small stage, especially with the touring acts gear also present, but they managed to make it work and rock out despite it all. The crowd, of a decent size for a Sunday night, really seemed to be feeling it. Their cover of Talking Heads’ “Burning Down The House” was especially well received, showing their appreciation for the history of dance rock music, just like their recording of David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance”:
Torch, drummer of local jamtronica standouts Conspirator, has his own solo music as well. While perhaps equally known for his YouTube drum covers, his electronic production is gradually gaining traction within the scene, and his impressive technical proficiency behind the kit certainly adds a great deal to the performance aspect. One of the only drummers I’ve ever seen replicate drum & bass music’s hyperkinetic rhythms, based on a sped-up sample of the famous “Amen” break, he perhaps over-emphasizes musicianship over songcraft, but is fascinating to watch nonetheless. Seemingly having an endurance contest with himself, I would be unsurprised to learn he requires some sort of special diet to maintain that level of physical performance.
Jonah Lipsky aka J.Wail himself was next on the stage, using a Roland MC-303, Novation keyboard, guitar, and microphone all synced together with his laptop and a live drummer to produce trippy, bass-heavy grooves clearly influenced by dubstep artists like Pretty Lights and Glitch Mob as well as jam bands like Phish. As the night got later, the music seemed to get darker as well, or at least more experimental, as the crowd began to trickle out and head home. After a quick set change, Baltimore’s DeltaNINE took the stage, the duo of Chris Honsberger and Chris Beck demonstrating the kindred spirit that led them to tour with J.Wail. Essentially a mildly downtempo dubstep DJ with a live drummer and some improvisatory keyboard playing, the two deserved a better dancefloor than they had, one I was assured they received the previous evening in their hometown. Their hard-hitting beats lasted long into the night, disregarding the tour’s early departure for Boston in the morning for the love of the music. If you’re in Bean Town, you can catch them tonight at Wonder Bar.
By Dave Fox | Philadelphia Ambassador | @philosofoxthedj | Beat-Play and Music Without Labels, LLC