Toubab Krewe

Toubab Krewe

Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad, TAUK, Prince Polo (VP and Dubshot Records), Clive Chin (Head Cornerstone VP records,Impact Records)

Saturday, May 5th, 2012

Doors: 6:00 pm / Show: 8:00 pm

Tickets Available at the Door

This event is 21 and over

$0.50 per ticket goes to Instruments4Africa charity)

$12 at the door, cash only

Toubab Krewe
Toubab Krewe
Some music cannot be found on a map or within iTunes categories. Some music is so original it seems snatched from the great, invisible substrata that runs below all human activity, a sound aching to be born without a flag or fixed allegiance - free, questing, overflowing with immediate, tangible life. This is the music of Toubab Krewe, the vibrant Asheville, NC-based instrumental powerhouse that creates a sonic Pangaea that lustily swirls together rock, African traditions, jam sensibilities, international folk strains and more. While nearly impossible to put into any box, it takes only a few moments to realize in a very palpable way that one is face-to-face with a true original who recognizes no borders in a march towards a muscular, original, globally switched-on sound.
Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad
Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad
Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad (GPGDS) is known for folding the aesthetics of the jamband scene into the structures of reggae. In the live setting, the band performs extended jams, while their previous studio albums have blended roots reggae with psychedelia (In These Times, 2012) or diverged from the genre completely, journeying into straight Americana (Country, 2012). On STEADY, the band's fourth studio album (and first on Easy Star Records), GPGDS has synthesized their approach by weaving traditional folk instrumentation into a foundation of reggae, with arrangements that let the reggae breathe in a non-traditional way. While STEADY may not be the first record to find inspiration in both old time Appalachia and ‘70s Jamaica, it may be the best.
Much of STEADY’s power comes from the attention put into the recording process. Craig Welsch (one of the key players in 10 Ft. Ganja Plant) invited the band to his Boston studio, with the intention of “capturing an aspect of Panda that no one had ever heard yet, something totally different.” This rings true on tracks like “Wolf At The Door” and “.45.” Bassist-singer James Searl jokes that the band “has always followed John Brown’s Body (JBB) into studios,” as each studio they’ve recorded in was previously used by the legendary Ithaca, New York-based band. This trend continues unabated here, as Welsch was formerly JBB’s dub engineer and producer on some of their finest sessions, while another song on STEADY – the herb-smoking gem “Mr. Cop” – was produced by Matt Saccuccimorano, who helmed the controls on the last JBB release. The only other track on the record not coming from Welsch - the title track - was co-produced by Danny Kalb, who has worked with The Green, Ben Harper, and Jack Johnson.
Giant Panda formed in 2001 in Rochester, New York. A mysteriously fertile area for developing the U.S. reggae scene, the city has ties going back to 1981 when Lee “Scratch” Perry recruited his entire backing band from Rochester. The Upstate NY region became early supporters of GPGDS, while its members were in high school and beginning college, playing weekly gigs to cut their teeth. In these formative years, Giant Panda began to explore their songs with an experimental approach that is stylistically akin to the Grateful Dead, while keeping their roots firmly planted in reggae rhythms and lyrical content. Around 2005 tapers began to notice and soon after one of the band’s first Colorado shows received homepage placement on the popular taper website Almost overnight GPGDS became a mainstay on the jamband festival circuit.
From 2005 – 2013 GPGDS’s three original members (drummer Chris O’Brian, guitarist-singer Dylan Savage, and bassist-singer James Searl) began a touring schedule averaging over 100 shows a year and performing throughout the U.S., Canada, and Jamaica. Their third lead singer, multi-instrumentalist Dan Keller, joined the group a few years back, while keyboardist Tony Gallicchio joined in 2013. (Most of the sessions for STEADY feature ex-keys man Aaron Lipp, though Gallicchio can be heard on two of the tracks.) Giant Panda’s continuous time on the road hardened the players into monster instrumentalists. Their attention to the studio in later years, along with a unique blending of reggae and rural American music solidified GPGDS as one of the region’s most beloved bands. Like their hometown, they manage to unify an intellectual and creative culture with a hard-working blue-collar past.
The three main songwriters’ material is different enough to create a flowing and diverse listening experience. Savage’s inspiring anthems tend to be the most “classically” reggae, with songs like “Not The Fool,” “Whatever Cost,” and “Solution” echoing influences like Culture (circa 1979), early Burning Spear, and Jimmy Cliff. Searl is more experimental, both in form (“Wolf At The Door” could almost be an Elvis Costello song, while “.45” utilizes African and blues influences) and in lyrics: his “Hurt Up Your Brother” is almost Dadaist, taking a few lines and constantly rearranging them to achieve new meanings, imbued with a nonsensical-yet-expressive feel, while one of the most dubbed-out riddims on the record chugs along underneath. Keller’s songs stand illusively in between, and manage to go both directions, with a hardcore reggae groove on “Move” giving way to an unexpected chorus, or with the catchy “Home” being one of the only reggae songs in history to use a banjo so creatively and fittingly.
Giant Panda is one of a growing number of bands that work with both Rootfire (their management) and Easy Star Records. STEADY marks the seventeenth release Rootfire and Easy Star have paired up for, making them one of the most storied and successful partnerships in the modern reggae scene. Release number eighteen is just a few months away…. GPGDS has cut a full Americana album as a sequel to 2012’s Country, which will also come out on Easy Star in early 2015. For now though, sit back and enjoy STEADY - a masterpiece that solidifies Giant Panda’s standing as a groundbreaker in the roots reggae scene.
On their third studio album Sir Nebula, TAUK tap into their singular chemistry to elevate and expand their all-instrumental blend of funk, hip-hop, progressive rock, and jazz. Revealing both their refined musicality and unbridled creativity, the Oyster Bay, New York-bred rock-fusion four-piece (guitarist Matt Jalbert, bassist Charlie Dolan, keyboardist/organist Alric “A.C.” Carter, and drummer Isaac Teel) push into new sonic terrain and build entire worlds within each richly textured soundscape.

From the hazy atmospherics of “Time’s Up” and soaring riffs of “Program Select” to the urgent rhythms of “Shenanigans” and sprawling melodies of “Where You Are,” Sir Nebula finds TAUK introducing a cosmically inspired element to their music. “The album ended up taking on a more ambient kind of vibe than anything we’ve done before—there’s a spaciness in the songs that lets you get lost in the sound,” says Dolan. And while the album is endlessly hypnotic, TAUK also deliver the dynamic tension-and-
release jams that have helped earn them a devoted following while drawing critical acclaim (the Washington Post, for one, praised TAUK for “creating a hard-charging, often melodic fusion that—thanks to a penchant for improv—offers limitless possibilities”).

Throughout Sir Nebula—the follow-up to their 2015 live double album HEADROOM—TAUK allow a more free-form, instinct-guided approach to steer their music into bold new directions. “With this record, we felt more comfortable in the studio and got to a new level where we were able to constantly feed off each other, so there was a lot of spur-of-the-moment improvisation that really helped shape the album,” says Jalbert. Adds Carter: “We made a point of trying to express ourselves freely and take risks even when that felt challenging and scary, instead of holding ourselves back and possibly taking something away from the songs.” At the same time, TAUK sharpened their songwriting to craft more intricately layered arrangements and powerfully intense grooves.

As with their past four releases, TAUK created Sir Nebula in collaboration with Grammy Award-winning producer/mixer/engineer Robert Carranza (The Mars Volta, Ozomatli, Jack Johnson, Taj Mahal). But in a departure from their previous work, the band made the album in one concentrated period rather than spacing the recording sessions out in between tours. Holing up at the Solar Powered Plastic Plant in Los Angeles, often pulling 12-hour workdays, TAUK ultimately found the revamped recording process hugely beneficial. “Everything just happened so naturally this time around,” says Jalbert. “I can’t think of one moment where it felt like anything was forced. We were all just completely focused and in the same mindset, which made it this incredibly fun and smooth experience.”

TAUK’s creative connection traces back to childhood, when longtime friends Dolan, Jalbert, and Carter formed their first band in seventh grade and held practice in their school basement. After playing together in various projects over the years, the trio brought Teel into the fold in 2012, cementing the final lineup.

“We gelled pretty quickly as friends and as musicians, and now there’s a connection onstage that’s unspoken,” notes Teel. “You just feel it from the energy within the band and from the response coming from the crowd—all these people in the same exact headspace.”

Since their formation, TAUK have shared stages with an impressive list of bands (including Widespread Panic, Umphrey’s McGee, Lettuce, and Tim Reynolds & TR3), in addition to appearing at festivals like Electric Forest, Bonnaroo, and The Allman Brothers’ Peach Music Festival. That rigorous touring schedule has gone a long way in strengthening their chemistry, according to Carter. “We’re doing 140 shows a year and we pretty much live with each other, so there’s a healthy respect and trust and love happening there,” he says. “We all have a common goal and an understanding that this is something we’re compelled to do, and that’s definitely brought us close together.” It’s also helped TAUK develop a reputation as a masterful live act: “TAUK is unstoppable,” raved Live for Live Music. “If you haven’t see them, dear God, go.”

Now on the road again (with upcoming dates including a two-night stint at the Brooklyn Bowl and spots on the Hangtown Music Festival, North Coast Music Festival, and Catskill Chill Music Festival), TAUK also have plans to widen their output by composing scores for film and television. In the meantime, the band is focused on instilling their live show with the same kinetic energy and boundless passion that powered the making of Sir Nebula. “Growing up together as musicians and collectively going on this journey—that’s what makes this experience really special,” says Jalbert of TAUK’s continued evolution. “It’s like everything we’ve learned over the years has been funneled into this band, and now it’s taking shape in a really exciting way. We all love what we’re doing, and the band just feels like home.”
Prince Polo (VP and Dubshot Records)
spinning Unreleased music and Dubplates from The Randy's/Impact/!7 North Parade Records vault. This is the first time these songs have been heard since they were recorded 40 years ago at the 17 North Parade Studio in Kingston, Jamaica.
Clive Chin (Head Cornerstone VP records,Impact Records)
spinning Unreleased music and Dubplates from The Randy's/Impact/!7 North Parade Records vault. This is the first time these songs have been heard since they were recorded 40 years ago at the 17 North Parade Studio in Kingston, Jamaica.
Venue Information:
Brooklyn Bowl
61 Wythe Avenue
Brooklyn, NY, 11249

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