This Friday, Fountain Square gets ready to rock with the first MidPoint Indie Summer Series concert of the season. The free, every-Friday shows run throughout the summer and feature an eclectic array of local and national touring talent. Music starts at 7 p.m.
This year’s opening-night main act, You You’re Awesome, has earned its way to headlining status by building a growing following with its crafty, magnetic Electronica, a mix of modern, energetic rhythms (thanks to Kevin Bayer’s live drums and Yusef Quotah’s smart programming), catchy, clever samples and an assortment of snyths and electronics that bridges early, pioneering usage and today’s more stylized approach.
The duo’s just-released Good Point, Whoever Said That (YYA’s first full-length) proves You You’re Awesome can be enjoyed in several forms, Transformers-style. Taken as a live two-piece, a live-two piece plus choreographed visual extravaganza, or simply YYA in the recorded format, each element is a wholly enjoyable slice of groovy goodness. The twosome has gradually released a series of EPs since its inception, but Good Point has a funky fluidity that easily sustains the nearly hour-long run-time of the full version full-length (a version of the album is available as a free download through the group’s site, but dole out a few bucks for the “bonus tracks” and other perks).
The “keep things interesting” pace is part of the fun of Good Point, which somehow manages to sound retro, modern and futuristic all at once.
The hues change throughout, and when it comes to tempo, style shifts and samples, the band is fearless, from the bubbling, dramatic build of Electro-funkin’ “Motherbrain” (which comes off like the soundtrack of some weird Beverly Hills Cop/Dr. Zhivago hybrid) to the Laurie-Anderson-trapped-in-an-Atari cut “Choose Your Own Adventure.”
Good Point, Whoever Said That is an album with wide appeal, a solid slice of compelling, pleasurable entertainment regardless of your musical tastes.
Newport’s Secret Is Out
Ska/Reggae band The Newport Secret Six (formerly Duppy a Jamba) celebrate its first album (under the new name), Licking River Rocksteady, with a release party at the Southgate House this Friday. The band is joined by The Lions Rampant, The Frankl Project and Loudmouth for the 9 p.m. show.
Fifteen years ago, if you heard about a new, young Ska/Reggae band, you’d be forgiven for thinking the crew played some variation of Third Wave Ska, the Reggae-tinged Punk popularized by The Mighty Mighty Bosstones and others. But if you subscribe to the belief that music lovers often turn to more pure forms of music in times of societal uncertainty, The Six’s dedication to the earliest forms of Reggae and the authentic sound they come up with should be no surprise.
The horns on Licking River are top-notch, responsible for the best riffs on the release, while the bass provides deep Dub grooves, the guitarist shows off one of the best Reggae strum hands in the region, the drums are dynamic but (indeed) rock-steady and the organ trills and stabs are in line with what the pioneers had in mind when they came up with the sound.
Singer J Duckworth guides the Secret Six through the album with soulful vocals pushed forth from the bottom of his gut. He’s got the phrasing down and comes up with some great melodies throughout, but it’s the way he sells it that sets the band apart.
If you love Reggae’s originators and have a soft spot for Two Tone Ska, then meet your new favorite local band, The Newport Secret Six. (www.thesecretsix.net)
CONTACT MIKE BREEN: email@example.com