Words By: Laurent Shervington
Y’know they say Jazz is like the new coke, it’ll be around forever.
It had been just over two and half years since Canadian jazz-cats BadBadNotGood had graced a Perth stage and as each member meandered out onto the stage, they were greeted with a rockstar welcome from the huge crowd packing the venue.
It’s a bit strange seeing a Jazz band in 2016 ignite such a passionate young following, exciting punters who would just as easily sway to the unadorned melodies of Mac Demarco or Ty Segall. What spurs the millennial to entertain the music of these modal marauders? Well for starters, they’re pretty fucking good musicians.
Adding a member since their last visit, the quartet of Matthew Tavares (Keys), Chester Hansen (Electric Bass), Alexander Sowinski (Drums) and Leland Whitty (Saxophone) are each undeniably masters of their instruments, never showing a lack of intention or proficiency, even during the more free-jazz moments of their set.
Sourcing a lot material from their latest studio venture IV, the band shimmied between the crystalline swank of ‘Speaking Gently’, the electronically tinged ‘And That, Too’ and the dance-fuck of ‘Lavender’. Live interpretations of their material were almost always a mutant of their recorded form, growing a limb or two in extended phrases or tasty soloing by a band member.
The band harked back to their album III with an incredibly lively take on ‘Kaleidoscope’, ridiculous drum fills and melodic bass walks getting the crowd dancing after each breakdown. Closing the main set with the incredibly energetic ‘CS60’ the crowd screamed for more as the four-piece waited at the back of the stage. Coming back on for the gorgeous sax-driven ‘Confessions Pt II’, the band’s victory lap was confident and satisfying.
The real question is, will BadBadNotGood’s style (along with Hiatus Kaiyote, Thundercat) retain it’s popularity? Well, the band’s constant flirtations with Hip-Hop and Funk seems to have blurred the line between between the genres well enough to remain fresh amongst a myriad of nu-jazz hopefuls. One thing’s for certain, these kids know what the jazz is all about.