lespectacle VII: Cheen Album Release! feat. The Funky Knuckles, Zion I, lespecial, and Horizon Wireless
Special Halloween stage design by The Reliquarium!, Visual Art by Vin Pugliese, $10 entry with 10/31 Primus ticket!
61 Wythe Avenue
Brooklyn, NY, 11249
Doors 6:00 PM / Show 8:00 PM
This event is 21 and over
Lespecial- the hosts and curators of lespectacle- celebrate the 7th edition of this multi-media event with the release of cheen, their second album. Pole vaulting over traditional genres, cheen is a snapshot a band finding a remarkable creative stride, fearless in their pursuit of a synthesis of the diverse musical idioms that have inspired them as listeners and artists.
These three childhood friends from Connecticut—now based in Boston and New York—play off of a lifetime of shared experience in their writing and performance. In a power trio, it's essential that each of the players can utterly captivate you at any given time. Each individual has a lot of weight to carry and is only as strong as the weakest link. In the studio, as on stage, it seems at first blush that Jon Grusauskas—delivering lyrics that call for your attention and seamlessly moving from guitar to keys to samples—is handling the entire upper end of the spectrum… until you consider how broad the melodic embrace of rhythmatist Rory Dolan and low end wizard Luke Bemand. Injecting splashes of color and wicked chops into their heavy groove foundations or driving assaults, this dynamic battery simultaneously eases and propels lespecial through the fractious changes of cheen’s mood and tempo.
In a traditional sense, cheen is a risky album: it asks the listener to suspend a categorical approach and dig into their own eclectic unconsciousness, to adapt a phrase, and appreciate the flow of the record from start to finish, as it moves guided by an unseen plan. If there is an underlying thematic structure, it is one that is anchored—musically and lyrically—by horror flicks, 1980s video games and lespecial’s indictment of the current cultural state of affairs. Not overtly political, angry or morose, by any means, cheen seems to observe the zeitgeist and respond to it in songs like “Stolen Land”, “American Apocalypse” and “Sound That We Do”, the last of which features the celebrated Bay Area hip hop wordsmith Zion I. Meanwhile, the band winks at Mario Brothers in the J Dilla inspired “Donut Ghost House” tracks that bookend the album. In between can be heard pensive indie rock that evokes Flaming Lips and Radiohead, down-tempo apocalyptic dub trances tinged with hints of Tool, polyrhythmic technicality a la Belew-era King Crimson and a penchant for all things Nine Inch Nails. This from a band that released an exclusive single through The Untz—one of the premier outlets for “EDM” producers—a month before announcing cheen, then did an interview with a metal mag a week later, and that can get weirdly funky with a nod to Primus.
lespecial’s willingness to take this risk of presenting an album full of flavors and feels is a reflection of the respect they have for their fans, present and future: they simply don't underestimate the listener, and that itself is refreshing, bringing about comparisons to The Clash, who destroyed every boundary they came across, working reggae, dub, funk and folk ballads into the socially and politically relevant punk rock they had come to personify. Here at another turning point in music and culture, lespecial has taken a huge step towards that goal of synthesizing their own varied and divergent influences, regardless of the seeming incongruity of the elements, and captured a snapshot of their generation, their cultural climate, and what that all sounds like...
The Funky Knuckles
The inevitable result of a talent-soaked soul and jazz community, The Funky Knuckles are taking the sound of Dallas to an entirely different level. They have been together for six years and have played on stages across the U.S and around the world. The band is comprised of musicians and producers who have worked with some of the most respected acts in the music industry (Beyonce, Erykah Badu, Marcus Miller, Stanley Clarke, Talib Kweli, Chris Dave, The Polyphonic Spree, etc.), yet possess a sound distinctly separate from any of their individual projects.
The Funky Knuckles move together musically as a school of fish, never complacent and always stretching the boundaries of improvisation and composition. Whether performing original music or standards, they draw from each member's musical experiences to create their unique genre-bending sound. They are currently touring internationally and working on new music for their 4th album.
Their second album "Meta-Musica" held the #1 position on the iTunes jazz charts for over a week. They played for sold out audiences across Europe in April 2016 on their first tour overseas.
The Oakland-based MC/Producer Zion I (a.k.a. Zumbi) is in the top echelon of conscious, party-rocking hip-hop artists. With more than two-dozen albums, mixtapes, EP’s and vibrant collaborations with notables such as Amp Live and DJ K-Genius under his belt, Zion I has transcended the hip-hop world and evolved into an independent touring artist who appeals to a broad spectrum of the live music community.
Zion I’s progressive, stay-true-to-the-core lyricism and soulful delivery has ignited the audiences of artists across many genres, including reggae-based artists like Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley, Rebelution, Collie Buddz and Matisyahu, heavy hitting rockers Linkin Park, EDM icons Bassnectar, Pretty Lights hip-hop artists like Kendrick Lamar, Wu-Tang, Common, The Game, Too Short, Devin The Dude, The Roots MC Black Thought and cross-over artists such as The Roots, Flying Lotus and Emancipator.
Embracing the warm reception he has received in the burgeoning reggae-rock community, Zion I toured in the Summer of 2016 with Slightly Stoopid, SOJA, The Grouch and Eligh on “The Return Of The Redeye Tour.” Prior to this, he has toured internationally and throughout North America, performing at some of the most reputable music festivals across the globe, including Coachella, Rock the Bells, Treasure Island Music Fest, Lightning In A Bottle, Outside Lands, California Roots Music and Arts Festival, Hangout Music Festival, Splash Fest (Germany), HipHop Kemp (Czech Republic), Rifflandia (British Columbia), Sonic Bloom, Paid Dues, Snow Globe and most recently the urban lifestyle music and arts festival, Bay Area Vibez with Bassnectar, Nas and Damian Marley.
Zion I released his new full-length album, The Labyrinth, in October, 2016. He describes the record as melodic and bass heavy. “It was cool being able to hit the people with some new vibes and give them a current window into my world.” Originally from Philadelphia, Zumbi has lived in Cincinnati, Providence, Houston and Atlanta, but Oakland- where he has spent the last 19 years- is his home. “It is the place where my music first grew. I have always loved the diversity and culture of rebellion that is in the heart of Oakland,” says Zion I. “There’s every shade of color here. When people see injustice, there is a collective activation that takes place and we take to the streets to fire back at the system. The history of the Black Panthers is still alive in the hearts of many. I live and breathe the energy of this community, with its turbulent rise and fall of the struggle to live with dignity. I draw tremendous inspiration in my lyrics from the town. I hope to be an example for the next generation, showing that you can live out your dreams and pursue your goals with passion and exuberance.”
Horizon Wireless blends psychedelic future-funk & house music with a variety of other styles including progressive trip-hop, tech-lounge, and nu-jazz to create smooth, high energy, and soulful dance experiences for the inner extraterrestrial in us all. The past five years have been a cosmic roller coaster ride… starting with humble beginnings in sorority basement parties and dive bars in upstate New York, to eventually piloting such notable spaceships as The Capitol Theatre, Irving Plaza, The Theater at Madison Square Garden, and many more. Top publications from all over the galaxy have been giving rave reviews…
8pm- The Funky Knuckles
9:30pm- Horizon Wireless
10pm- lespecial w/ Zion I
10:45pm- Horizon Wireless
Mon, November 20
Tue, November 21
Wed, November 22
Thu, November 23
Fri, November 24