Kat Wright and the indomitable Soul Band and Superhuman Happiness
January 17, 2015
A little over two weeks ago, i was at Drom to catch a night of funk and soul featuring the Burlington, Vermont-based soul act Kat Wright and the Indomitable Soul Band and the Brooklyn-based act, Superhuman Happiness, an act that if you’ve been following JOVM for some time, you’d be very familiar with.
Arriving about 20 minutes before the show started, I got a beer and chatted briefly with some early concertgoers who had told me that I’d be impressed by the night’s opener, Kat Wright and the Indomitable Soul Band and man, they were absolutely right. Sonically, the Burlington, VT-based act paired Wright’s silkily seductive and effortlessly soulful voice with a band that played a Muscle Shoal-like soul – in other words, it was muscular and more funk and rock-based. than say Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings or Charles Bradley but it still feel into the contemporary, retro soul movement. However, much like the countless acts that comprise the retro soul movement, Kat Wright is a dynamic and expressive expressive presence whose vocals manage to express heartache, confusion, pride and strength within the turn of a phrase.
I had spoke to Kat Wright in between sets and she had told me that her and her Indomitable Soul Band had played with Superhuman Happiness and Rubblebucket when both bands had stopped in Burlington. She also told me that the band stops in town every few months so I’m looking forward to catching them the next time they’re in town.
Superhuman Happiness released one of my favorite albums last year; however, over the past year or so the band has gone through a massive lineup change, seemingly due to both financial necessity and creative necessity. As countless musicians have admitted both publicly and privately, the larger the band, the less likely that anyone will see any appreciable money from shows or anything else. Naturally, as a result members go on to other projects and wind up so busy that whoever is left in the original group has to decide if it makes sense to go on. In any case, with the lineup changes, the only original members who remain are founding members Stuart Bogie and Eric Biondo. Andrea Diaz (vocals, keyboards and percussion) and Sam Levin (drums, vocals) were recruited as replacements, and interestingly, with fewer members, the band has taken up a more electronic-based sound, which gives songs I’ve heard on album and live a much different interpretation – i.e., a song like “Half Step Grind” now employed the sort of glistening synths and motorik-like rhythm that sounded as though they had been listening to old Kraftwerk albums and “Second Heart” had an unexpected futuristic sheen. And instead of Bogie’s explosive and lengthy sax solo, Biondo took up an impressive trumpet solo played through a variety of pedals, in a fashion that reminded me a bit of Miles Davis’ more experimental phases. And yet they managed to maintain the same joyful, playful improvisational feel that has made their material and live shows so much fun. Overall, it was an incredibly fun night and an early highlight to 2015.
Check out some photos from the show below.
Kat Wright and the Indomitable Soul Band
For these photos and more, check out the Flickr set here: