Friday, August 06, 2004

Hot and Spicy

...trying to catch up with some reviews [stay tuned for review of shows from Toots and The Maytals, Wilco, controller.controller, The Rishi Rich Project with Lal]

  • concert review: Breakestra w/ Cibelle @ Harbourfront (Toronto, Ontario) [part of the Hot and Spicy Food Festival], July 30, 2004

  • Cibelle @ Harbourfront (Toronto, Ontario) [part of the Hot and Spicy Food Festival], July 30, 2004: photo by Mike LigonHarbourfront is wonderful for concerts on a warm summer evening. As I've done quite frequently this year, I made a last minute decision to go down and check out Breakestra and Cibelle at Harbourfront, where they were playing a free show. Actually, my interest was piqued when Cibelle graced the cover[as well as accompanying cover story] of last week's Eye. Considering her striking ethnic good looks [she's from Brazil] and after reading the story in Eye, I convinced myself to go check her out. I probably missed the first 15 minutes of her performance, but the 45 minutes that I managed to catch was a revelation. Wearing a sultry flimsy white dress, with plenty of opportunity to see her legs peaking out from the fabric as she danced, she performed an intoxicating selection of tunes, which I assumed were mostly from her debut self-titled CD. She sings in English as well as Portugese, and if I remember correctly, she even sang in French. Considering that I'm not versed in Portugese, and even after years of French classes I still only have rudimentary knowledge of French, I was surprised how enjoyable Cibelle's music still could be. Her music is [as I described in a previous post], a delectable mix of bossa nova rhythms, subtle electronic sounds, organic/acoustic instrumentation, and downtempo trip-hop aesthetics. Cibelle even sang a great cover of Nirvana's "About A Girl" with just her vocals and a band member on acoustic guitar. She's quite the performer as well, not content to stand on stage motionless, but rather was caught up in the sultry rhythms of the music with her dancing. Not much else I can say, but I highly recommend that you check her out. Sublime. [check out photos here.]

    Breakestra @ Harbourfront (Toronto, Ontario) [part of the Hot and Spicy Food Festival], July 30, 2004: photo by Mike LigonBreakestra are a 10-piece funk-based L.A. ensemble with a hip hop edge. They were one example of a band where my patience paid off. They started off well enough eschewing their funky sounds and beats, with a dread-locked MC taking centre mic. It had definite acid jazz influences and it reminded me of when I used to really be into the Brand New Heavies. Maybe it was Cibelle's sublime performance that upstaged Breakestra for me, but my initial impressions of Breakestra were underwhelming. However, I think it was the point when the MC encouraged people to get up and start dancing that their set started to gain momentum. The energy level definitely went up and their funky tunes started to sink in. At various points in their set, the band would spotlight one of the members' musicianship skills, and the spotlight of the evening was definitely the saxophone player's top-notch playing. He played an extended solo that was both impressive for his arrangements as well as the shear length of time he performed during the solo. Also quite entertaining were the 'samples' that they used, or rather performed; it was really fun to hear familiar funky breaks within their songs like the funky keyboard segment that you might know from Maestro Fresh Wes' "Let Your Backbone Slide". Another heavy influence in their music was definitely James Brown. There's not anything overly innovative about Breakestra's sound but I must give them credit for their ability to pull it off live, when so many hip hop artists before them have gone the DJ/sampling route. At the end of the night, I picked up their CD THE LIVE MIX PART 1 which is a reissue of a collection of tunes from 1996. It's a fun listen and a definite crowd-pleaser. [check out photos here.]

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