If you haven’t been to the Brooklyn Night Bazaar, you should probably reconsider your plans for next weekend. Doors opened at 8pm, and there were tons of people checking out all of the entertainment there was to offer. Once you’ve had a taste of the deliciously eclectic food options, had a drink, maybe played some mini-golf, checked out some video games as well as the multitude of local vendors, it was time for the music to begin.
The musical evening began with Sandflower Power, who exhibited her electronic hip-hop style on stage with the help of some extremely talented dancers. This girl has sass and she used it well in her silver sequin dress, sunglasses, and flashy heels. Her bass heavy, electronic tracks were supported by the conga drummer, which added a little extra something to her performance. She is an extremely powerful female lead, and her lyrics toyed with a party lifestyle, while still depicting a strong woman merely living life in her own way. Musically, I’d compare her sound to the likes of Fergie and Nelly Furtado, but with a strong electronic hip-hop vibe. During the last song of her set, the audience was infiltrated as the four dancers temporarily dropped their group choreography, and they each took a moment to freestyle. The audience was amused as they cheered on the dancers, tearing up the floor, while Sandflower sang “Do Whatchu Wanna (Boeng Tranga).” Her set was lively and fun, and she did a wonderful job of breaking the ice for the evening.
Up next was Ford Theater Reunion. If I thought I had the vibe of the evening figured out, I was wrong. Hailing from Kentucky, these guys changed it up immediately, giving us something completely different to wrap our heads around. Besides the unexpectedly awesome integration of the accordion and clarinet, Ford Theater Reunion offered a very theatrical and hardcore punk set. One thing I really enjoyed about this group was their tight melodies and rhythms. Their on-stage chemistry was amazing as they delivered complicated vocals from three different singers. Their musical abilities were shown by the way they handled the time signature changes as well as the hauntingly silent moments in some of their songs. In “Huff n’ Puff,” they sang about the big bad wolf, in character. The mousey sounding female voice as well as the heavy, almost frightening, wolf voice, along with the hardcore essence of the sound provided an extremely unique listening experience. The irony of a song about fairytales with an anti-fairytale sound was kind of ingenious. Their energy was electric, and the crowd was definitely feeling the head banger vibe. When the gypsy rock clarinet solos followed screamo moments, it provided a dichotomy that actually worked really well for them. The self-described “sludge funk, circus punk” music was a theatrical treat for the audience at the Bazaar.
The following band, once again, completely changed the pace of the evening. The Love Supreme had the crowd dancing from start to finish. Numerically, they were the largest group of the night, with 11 members on stage, but that only seemed to fuel the energy they emitted throughout their set. Their horn section was reminiscent of that of an old school funk record. The sound was comparable to a reincarnated, modernized James Brown. The smooth lead vocals along with the funky grooves made them easy to love. The personalities on stage were engaging and allowed for lots of audience interaction. Even in their soul music slow jam “True Love Waits (For No Man),” they had the crowd moving. That slow groove was so tight and powerful, I never wanted it to end, and that seemed to be the general consensus of the audience as well. During their song “Hip,” it was clear that these guys knew how to create a community feeling in the room. The catchy chorus was easy to learn as folks were dancing and throwing their hands in the air, singing along.
They played with tempo changes and kept everyone excited, leaving the audience with perpetual smiles on their faces. The Love Supreme’s music is so infectious, and the band member’s musical abilities are obvious. They create such a feeling of being alive and happy; there is no way you wouldn’t enjoy their live set. The fact that they ended their set with a funky cover of “Pony” by Ginuwine only elevated their coolness. If you’re looking for a true old school funk group playing “unhinged madness”, as described by lead singer, Tim Pioppo, this is your group! They just want to bring the fun back to playing by taking something old and building something new. Pioppo says “Life’s stressful enough; you just have to let loose!”
The room continued filling up with people in 3D glasses, and we all knew what that meant; Hank & Cupcakes was about to dominate the stage! With Hank on the bass and Cupcakes on the drum kit, the electronic music was accompanied by a really solid percussion section. This duo screams style and fun, and I have to say I was a fan of Hank’s eccentric, long, green jacket. The beats were driving and the excitement was high as they opened their set with “Relax,” from their newest album, Cash 4 Gold. They had the room jumping up and down, singing along with their positive, joyful tunes. The four large screens in the back displayed very colorful and somewhat trippy footage that accentuated the happy-go-lucky music. Cupcakes spoke to the audience as if we were her best friends, and the vibe was truly inviting and community-like. They created an atmosphere where it was okay to be wild and to dance like nobody’s watching. When they called on the crowd for support, the love was returned. Cupcakes even crowd surfed and gave out a few high fives before running back on stage. It takes a lot of effort to first come on stage at midnight, after three very different groups already performed, and still manage to keep the energy in the room at constant high. Their charisma was uncanny, and their talent was apparent. It’s as if we were all invited into their extremely fun, awesome world for a short time.
They slowed the tempo of the set with the beginning of their song “Cocaina.” As Cupcakes repeated the phrase “down on the floor, but the devil wants more,” the music became more psychedelic. I had never heard this track before, but I found myself singing along. The melody was catchy, and the psychedelia offered a different side of their sound. The slow blues bass line, accompanied with the booming chorus had the crowd roaring. Before their next track, “Go Slow,” Cupcakes warned the crowd; “we’re going to get a little intimate with you guys.” Hank and Cupcakes began flirting heavily. They started to make out on stage while playing their respective instruments, to much support of the audience. The song was extremely sexual, both lyrically as well as melodically. At one point in the song, they even went into cut time, which caused a temporary head banging frenzy among the crowd. As the set went on, they continued to demand involvement from the audience, and we all agreed with no contest. The songs really come to life when played live; they translate very well from the album to the stage. Their use of real instruments allowed for the perfect balance between the electronics and the funky bass lines. The music was so joyful and positive; it made me feel like a kid at Disney World.
The show ended with a performance of “Countdown.” This was a phenomenal choice as a last song due to its laid back vibe. Hank’s bass line was infectious, and Cupcakes stood atop her drum kit, as she beautifully delivered the vocals, and threw her hand in the air á la The Breakfast Club. They took the moment to connect with the audience on a different level, as the music allowed them to tone down. After “1 more minute to countdown,” the set was over. What a wonderful way to end a fine evening of music.
Article by: Alex Feigin
Photos: Chrissy Lush