The Maple Leaf Bar might need a new roof and floorboards after last night’s party. September 13th was a special night of music and homecoming, as folks of all ages, shapes, and sizes packed the Leaf to welcome home saxophonist Khris Royal, fresh off a two month long tour with Rebelution and Sublime with Rome. Royal showcased his incredible talent with his band Dark Matter, and introduced The Crescent City Brass to a New Orleans stage for the first time ever. Made up of Royal, Eric “Benny” Bloom (Lettuce, Pretty Lights Analog Future Band, The Shady Horns), and a variety of special guests on trombone, the Crescent City Brass are sure to blast off among the New Orleans music elite.

While the Maple Leaf usually holds for a standard night of funk music, last night’s show had the audience dancing to contemporary elements of neo-soul, hip hop, funk and electronica (or, as the kids are calling it these days, funktronica). Since graduating from the esteemed New Orleans Creative Center for the Arts and Berklee College of Music, Royal has amassed a solid fanbase across the country and brings an amazing level of talent and professionalism to the stage as a bandleader and member of the whole performance experience. Special guest vocalists Christin Bradford (who attended NOCCA with Royal) and Sean C. took the stage on several occasions throughout the two sets, rousing delight out of everyone fortunate enough to attend.

With intricate compositions and catchy grooves, Dark Matter & The Crescent City Brass are able to weave through complex changes while still holding down elements of dance at the core of their sound. Incorporating electronic samples, as well as some electronic instruments, Khris Royal and company threw down for an amazing and truly unique show. It’s safe to say you can expect big things from these guys and we’re eagerly awaiting whatever is next for this talented new generation of local musicians. As Khris himself would say, “I came for sax.”


Gimme Some More, Funkanova, Superstition*, Love Song #5–>Take Your Time**, Skin I’m In*–>She’s Always In My Hair*–>Funk Jam, Step Children
Shake It (Ice Cream), 11:08, Love Song #4, BBE, Glamorous Life**, Insomnia, Make You Dance

*with Sean C. on vocals
**with Christin Bradford on vocals

Words by Max Smilen, Photos by Brandon Xuereb – X-istence Photography