Published Oct 24, 2013Jazz-trained instrumental trio BadBadNotGood, who've enjoyed a meteoric rise since first posting their school-trained covers of hip-hop tracks online, played Halifax for the first time and were evidently surprised at how much their versions of dance and hip-hop tracks have resonated amongst young music fans.
The last show of the night on a Wednesday, at a venue usually reserved for more frat-oriented dance experiences, built remarkably, as the crowd settled into the keys/bass/drums groove on offer. Drummer Alex Sowinski has ditched the pig mask and become the trio's de facto "front man" — introducing songs, bantering with the crowd, and often inciting people to get up for the climax of a song they're still in the middle of playing.
As the set went on, the alchemy between the locked-in trio and the appreciative crowd meshed in that "this is a moment" way that music fans crave. Whether it was their own compositions from their last free offering, BBNG 2, or covers of Flying Lotus and Hudson Mohawke/Lunice project TNGHT, or even new, untitled compositions from an upcoming project, grooves were undeniable. Feeling it, the crowd clapped along and by the end, a mosh pit had erupted to celebrate "Flashing Lights," their excellent Kanye West cover.
BadBadNotGood — whom people continue to refer to as a "jazz" band — are now occupying their own musical lane, and they're pretty much alone there. While their jazz training, and the traditional lineup, contribute significantly to their deft maneuverability, jazz is not what they do — whatever improvised element was present early on has been replaced by formalized compositional elements. They're kin with a band like Do Make Say Think, yet they're not post-rock; they act as a backing band for various rappers, but are not a hip-hop act; they live in the groove pocket that will move a whole room of sweaty dancers, but there's nothing "electronic" here. What they are, however, is capable of making a packed crowed on a Wednesday night in Halifax demand that they play one more tune, morning light be damned.