By Sam Rosenberg
Wednesday night at Brooklyn Bowl (also known as “my home away from home”) had a few surprises for this first-time Zoogma viewer; the night was all about the special blend of live music, synths and samples. First, to warm up the crowd, D.V.S* threw down an intimate DJ set. All his beats are homemade with the goal of making those beats and melodies revolve around his live guitar once on stage. This guy has a passion for what he is doing and it shows!
Then Zoogma took to the stage. Zoogma’s jamtronica music mixes youthful high energy, tight transitions, synthesizers, and driving live instruments molded around an electronic sound. Brock Bowling (guitar, live sequencing), Matt Harris (drums, live sequencing), Justin Hasting (guitar, synthesizer), and Ryan Nall (bass, synthesizer) brought out loyal fans and delivered an entertaining and engaging musical and visual experience.
The first part of the set was filled with skillful mild peaks and smooth shifts. While playing as a unit, each member individually transitioned back and forth from their synth or laptop to live instruments within songs. They made these switches look easy; much of this attributed to the superbly solid drumming of Matt Harris. Not only did he stay steady – a tough job with such layered music – he was having a great time doing it!
The textures and layers of their songs are a defining quality of the band hailing fromOxford,Mississippi. Subtly littered with mostly female vocal samples, the tunes were broken up nicely without overpowering the heavy instrumental bass-lead dance party. The samples were a great way to add variety to the tunes without over-extending the tempo in either direction; it was never too fast or too slow.
As the band (and crowd) got hot, so did the peaks; getting steadily heavier as the set progressed; making it clear they knew how to keep their fans into it without being exaggerated. The comfortable crowd was really into it, and one could not help but head bob (though some danced full out balls-to-the-wall). Toward the end of the set, they announced a new tune; greeted with big cheers. One notable difference between this new material and other stuff they played was their use of the vocal sample. For this song, the sample was at the core, and the other instruments used around it added to the quality. The song was out of place in a set built around special blends and subtlety but was by no means a disappointment to hear.
While fun to hear, this band is a visual experience; they need a good light show to function at their highest level of entertainment. The lights on stage, some from the house and others brought in by the band, were more than adequate and totally enhanced the show. It would be worth checking them out during the day to see if they have the same powerful pull. They are set to perform at The Catskill Chill this weekend and I highly recommend catching their set. These guys have an energetic and infectious youthful talent; couple that with the smart management at MCP Presents, they have a huge chance of becoming a band worth seeing on the regular. I am certainly looking forward to seeing what they bring next time!
Starry eyed (Ellie Gouding Remix)
Check out our pictures by Corey Skonberg: