- an 18-foot tall tower called the “Shpongletron”
- a Juilliard trumpet player paired with electronica beats
- glow-in-the-dark devil sticks (remember those?) and hula hoops
- and a local pop/soul goddess
Nice combo. Let me explain…
The Westcott was sold out for Shpongle, a wild psychedelic/trance act that mixes incredible and far out visual effects with beats accented by Eastern instruments. But before Simon Posford (Shpongle) climbed into his “Shpongletron,” PAX FX and Random Rab warmed up the crowd.
PAX FX never fails to branch into new territory, both musically with tempos and beats, all manipulated live at his fingertips, but also with the physical additions to his mixes. With a hammered dulcimer at his side most nights and often a singer or trumpet player, PAX always makes for an interesting set, never shying from new methods or avenues for experimentation. Juilliard-trained trumpet player and former SSO member, Jared Bushee added a new layer to Friday’s set with muted horn lines floating over PAX’s steady beats and eerie vocal tracks. While electronica can fall victim to repetition, PAX never fails to keep it fresh.
Random Rab kept the vibe pulsing, but dulled as the set dragged on. He had people moving, but he seemed to be the most physically active aside from the hula hoopers and devil stick-pros that add another level to electronica shows. See why here:
When Shpongle took the stage in his tower of psychedelic visuals, the glow sticks really started bobbing and swaying with the crowd. As the six-eyed face below Posford came to life and started blinking and turning its head from side to side thanks to lighting effects, the show picked up in intensity. Posford moved around his box of toys mixing in beats that coordinated with the freaky light show that swirled around him. The magic happened when the two (music and visual) connected in moments of excitement. See some of the coolest effects in the video below:After the glow sticks and alien light show, I came back to earth for the last set of Kim Monroe’s band, Wild Honey at Dinosaur Bar-B-Que. Though Monroe looks slight and sweet, when she opens up her voice it shakes you out of any assumptions you might have made. Pair that with guitarist Chris Eves’ ripping solos, especially on covers like “Crossroads,” and you’ve got a killer local combo. The show was impressive, tight and made it obvious why the group was slated to open for John Popper of Blues Traveling on Saturday at the Westcott. Wild Honey is also booked for Taste of Syracuse (June 3-4) and Balloonfest (June 10-12) this summer and should be making their way out again before, after and in between.