Abbey Pub, Chicago, IL • October 2, 2010
As Oakland-based trio Beats Antique traversed through their seethingly tribal set at the Abbey Pub in Chicago, the scene grew even more exotic and eccentric with each passing moment. Almost instantly the crowd moved as if they were one large organic mass of glorious rhythm swaying and grooving to a mystical fusion of jazz, Middle Eastern melodies, and electronic beats.
It was more than a show. It was a celebration that carried on into the early morning hours as David Satori (guitar, saz, viola, and percussion), Sidecar Tommy Cappel (keys, toy piano, drums, and percussion), and ZoÄ‚Å¤ Jakes (belly dancer, composer, and arranger) led fans through tracks from their latest album Blind Threshold.
In small pockets throughout the venue, some fans closed their eyes and lifted their arms in worship, while others moved their hips in perfect sync with the music and those around them. No matter where they were, together everyone found their places in the collective community of groove created by Beats Antique.
Though most of the show was purely instrumental and anchored by drums, electro-beats, and sensual visuals of belly dancing, the unified voice of the band was undeniable. The set flowed on like a mighty river and as if a sonic spiritual experience was exploding in slow-motion all around us.
One of the many peaks of the night came when Oakland-based artist Lynx joined the band on stage to sing “Rising Tide,” a track from Blind Threshold that she also guests on. Besides that pivotal moment, Lynx also opened the show. She gorgeously and gracefully showcased her ability to captivate fans with a set that burned bright and took us on an emotive and wonderfully eclectic and intimate journey.
Having been the first time that I have heard her music, Lynx’s one-woman show was surprisingly dynamic and tenacious. Armed with a laptop, a single snare drum, and a sweet siren voice, she traveled through simple yet extremely intricate folk, trip-hop, and electronica-based ballads. Each song listened like a soul-opening two-way mirror because as it unfolded, you saw into her heart while she opened up yours. Mixing poetry, spoken word-style lyrics, and a stunning moment of eye-popping beat-boxing, she finished up strong with a series of stunning songs filled with joy, sadness, pain, and hope — and all the while making the performance both personal and universal.
As the night neared its end, it was obvious. Beats Antique know exactly where they want to take a live audience. They’ve been cultivating celebratory live scenes in this Abbey Pub show in cities across the world since early 2003, and even long before that with various side projects and solo efforts. That said, Beats Antique is a sonic force that can woo and rock a crowd with ease and precision.
If any single element could enhance their live show, it would be to add more vocals to the ferocious current of the instrumental vibe. I wish there was a bit more room to groove, too, only because the sheer expansiveness of the music grips you and makes you want to let loose. But unlike an outdoors music festival, the tight quarters of the venue made sure fans kept the celebrating and dancing somewhat contained. And that didn’t stop us from feeling the crowd’s rave-like intensity building and growing stronger during almost every song.
I stood amidst the twirling and dancing fans on the main floor looking up at the band. Though they remained on the stage, I felt as though the band wanted to leap from the stage with their instruments and join the massive celebration created by their fantastic fusion of gypsy violin, flamenco hand clapping, Romanian wedding melodies, and chest-rattling dub-step. Unfortunately that physical barrier was never fully breached, but I hope next time it will be.
Beats Antique: beatsantique.com