The Sextones, Elektric Voodoo
901 E 1st St
Los Angeles, CA, 90012
Doors 7:30 PM / Show 8:00 PM
This event is 21 and over
Watch & Listen
The night before Con Brio headed into the studio to record their first full-length album, 23-year-old Ziek McCarter had a dream. In it, the singer received a visit from his father, an Army veteran who died at the hands of East Texas police in 2011. His father delivered an invitation: Come with me to paradise.
McCarter woke up with a song in his bones. “It was one of the most spiritual moments of my life,” he recalls. It was up to him, he knew, to rise above injustice, and to perform in a way that lifted up those around him as well. To make Con Brio’s music a place of serenity, compassion -- even euphoria -- right here on earth.
Paradise, which saw the San Francisco band teaming with legendary producer Mario Caldato Jr. (Beastie Boys, Beck, Seu Jorge), is the result: a declaration of independence you can dance to; an assertion of what can happen when the human spirit is truly free.
Formed in 2013, Con Brio is the offspring of seven musicians with diverse backgrounds but a shared love for the vibrant Bay Area funk and psychedelic-soul sound pioneered by groups like Sly & the Family Stone.
By 2015, when the band self-produced their debut EP, Kiss the Sun, Con Brio had already become a West Coast institution on the strength of their magnetic live show, with McCarter’s swiveling hips, splits and backflips earning him frequent comparisons to a young Michael Jackson or James Brown.
After a busy 2015 spent touring the U.S. and Europe, playing alongside veterans Galactic and Fishbone, and racking up critical acclaim on proving grounds like Austin City Limits -- where PopMatters declared Con Brio “the best new live band in America” -- they headed home to parlay their momentum, chemistry and tight live sound into a full-length record.
In an era when much has been made of the “death of the album,” there’s no question that Paradise, released internationally in summer 2016, is a fully-formed journey -- a trip made all the more immersive by Caldato’s raw, live style of production. “We tried to create a narrative in the studio, in the same way that we segue between songs live,” explains McCarter of the record’s arc.
From the first primal wail of Benjamin Andrews’ electric guitar on the title track -- Paradise is bookended by intro and outro versions -- the album tells a story about modern life through its contradictions: “Liftoff” speaks of an urge to fly, to transcend the day-to-day with a starry, bird’s-eye view. “Hard Times” brings us crashing back to earth with the struggles of city life, inequality, and a fractured society desperate for healing. “Money” is a revolution, a rejection of societal pressure to equate success with a paycheck and abandon one’s dreams in the process.
“Free & Brave,” the band’s most overtly political anthem, is also arguably its most infectious. Over a driving R&B groove courtesy of veteran rhythm section Jonathan Kirchner and Andrew Laubacher (bass and drums), McCarter name-checks Trayvon Martin and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Clearly inspired by his own personal relationship with police brutality, the song is equal parts heartbreaking and hopeful.
“‘Free & Brave’ is in part a response to the Black Lives Matter movement, but it was also created to serve as a reminder -- to myself and to whoever finds joy in that song -- that there is a light there. We don’t have to get bogged down, we don’t have to feel helpless,” says McCarter. “We might not see it on a daily basis, but we are still ‘the land of the free and home of the brave’...I still take pride in that, in what pieces of joy and happiness we can create here with our actions.”
Of course, songs about love and passion remain Con Brio’s native tongue. (At a recent Australian festival in which the band shared a bill with D’Angelo, one journalist told McCarter his sex appeal had eclipsed that of his longtime idol. McCarter continues to have no comment.) So it’s a refreshing surprise that the strongest love song on Paradise, in fact, is “Honey,” a sweet, spacious and vulnerable tune that allows the band’s horn section, Brendan Liu and Marcus Stephens, to shine. Though the band’s built a reputation on sonic bravado, it’s choices like these -- moments in which the music’s power flows from its subtlety -- that truly highlight where Con Brio is going.
As for where they’re literally going: The second half of 2016 will see Con Brio embarking on an ambitious international touring schedule, including stops at the lion’s share of major American music festivals (Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza, Summerfest and San Francisco’s own Outside Lands); Fuji Rock, Japan’s largest annual music event; Montreal Jazz Fest, the North Sea Jazz Festival in Rotterdam, the Netherlands; London; Paris; and more.
Which is not to say they’re intimidated. After performing most of these songs live throughout the past year, the team is running on adrenaline, and they’re thrilled to finally put this record in people’s hands. To bring old fans along for the journey, to help new fans lose themselves in a beat or a message. To spread music that, hopefully, shakes away the daily grind -- and nurtures listeners’ dreams about what their version of paradise on earth might look like, even for the duration of a song.
Ziek McCarter already knows what his looks like, because Con Brio’s building it. And from where he’s sitting, they’re well past ready for liftoff.
“We don’t want to walk, we don’t want to drive,” he says with a laugh. “We want to fly. We want to levitate.”
The Sextones are a family of music renegades known for viciously executed soul compositions and white-knuckle driving funk. Fronted by the charismatic and soulful vocalist Mark Sexton - The Sextones’ sound is a tip of the hat to the days of Tower of Power and Stevie Wonder while actively forging the path for a new generation of soul and funk. Based in the wild desert of Reno, NV, The Sextones continue to diligently craft their distinctive brand of soul with face-melting guitar parts, intricate bass-work, commanding drum rhythms, sticky Hammond B3 comping, brutally honest and heartfelt vocal acrobatics and a fearless and exciting stage performance.
In 2014 the original trio of Mark Sexton, bassist Alexander Korostinsky and drummer Daniel Weiss employed the talents of keyboard virtuoso Ryan Taylor to complete their musical family. Over the last 10 years, these young soul renegades have relentlessly toured the west coast gaining a multifarious group of loyal fans that help turn every show into an all-out funk dance party. The future has continued to get brighter for The Sextones as they have shared the stage with music heavyweights, Macy Gray, Charles Bradley, Dumpstaphunk, and their idols are starting to take notice. Festival appearances have included Railroad Earth’s Hangtown Halloween Ball, Wanderlust and Brews Jazz & Funk Fest just to name a few. The release of their debut album later in 2016 will include a national tour and more regional support tours.
Formally known as Mark Sexton Band, their 2013 release, Young & Naïve, was mixed by none other than legendary drummer Alan Evans of Soulive. “It sounded great even before I got my hands on it”, explains Alan Evans, “that’s what happens when you get great players playing great songs.” The album was recorded in Los Angeles by Emmy Award winning engineer Larold Rebhun. The group’s new album was recorded at Prairie Sun Studios in Northern California and is set for release later this year.
Elektric Voodoo is a new band from San Diego, CA that blends afrobeat, deep space blues, and psychedelic rock & roll into rhythmically charged 4 to 7 minute songs that end up being neither genre or era specific. This 5 piece ensemble is centered around the drums, percussion, and bass as all of the songs were built on driving rhythms that are undeniably propulsive. On top of this beat heavy foundation layers of guitars, vintage keyboards, and undefinable sounds swirl and build into emotional peaks and hypnotic drones.
The band was started by Scott Tournet (formerly of Grace Potter & The Nocturnals, Blues & Lasers, Solo) who recorded the album in makeshift studios around San Diego. After recording the the majority of the record he met some likeminded musicians that turned this recording project into a proper band. The group consists of Ty Kiernan (percussion), Matt Bozzone (drums), Ben Moore (keyboards), and Evan Lucas (bass).
The lyrics drift in and out, touching on a number of different emotions and moods while the common theme seems to be the push and pull between two varying entities. The characters and perspective shift in a way that sometimes the relationship is between the narrator and the unknown (Echo), a girl and her boyfriend who is out of town for the weekend (Boyfriend), a friend giving a friend who is on a losing streak advice (Expectation), to one character telling another that they've gone over the edge (The Other Side).