Super Hi Fi at Rockwood Music Hall 1/5/13

Super Hi Fi

Rockwood Music Hall

January 5, 2013

There was a drunk guy who quickly went from being jovial and friendly to being obnoxious when he actually attempted to ask the band on stage – Super Hi Fi – to play covers during their set. Who does that, when it’s obvious that the band on stage is playing original material, and has been for three quarters of a set or more? And does it say something about the general lack of unsophistication and manners of some concertgoers?  If anything, I think the scenario I just described points to the fact that some venues manage to attract assholes who should know better …

But enough for my pontificating. The Brooklyn-based band was at Rockwood Music Hall to start a series of shows locally to support their excellent debut effort, Dub to the Bone, which came out recently. Most of the set comprised of jammier and more playful renditions of the material from Dub that managed to reveal several things I hadn’t quite picked up from the album:  first, that the material has an elegant and deceptive simplicity; and secondly how much the material owed a great debt to jazz and dub – even more to jazz. In other words, the material was both tightly composed and yet offered a little bit of room for the musicians to improv if they wanted. I think I would have preferred a little bit more improvisation here and there, but when you’re introducing new material to a new audience, there’s a tendency to go more towards straightforward renditions. It’s not a bad thing but it’s a reality of playing live music. 

Added to the set were compositions dedicated to and inspired by friends, and those compositions were impressive – a song dedicated to their friend and producer Prince Polo leaned more towards the riddims of dub. A song dedicated to their friend Q was probably the funkiest song of the night. 

I was curious as to how they reproduced their sound and getting to see them live revealed that the trombonists employed delay pedals and other effect pedals to create a sound that seems as though it would echo off buildings and subway tunnels with a eerily dreamy precision, and propelled by tight riddims. I have to admit I was impressed by both their guitarist and bassist to the point that I spent time admiring their fingers traveling up and down the frets. I was impressed and had a great time, too. 

For these photos, and more from a great set of live music, check out the Flickr set here: