Monophonics

Monophonics

Con Brio

Fri, November 24, 2017

8:00 pm

Adv Tix $18.00 / Day of Show Tix $20.00

This event is all ages

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Monophonics
Monophonics
“One of the best live soul bands I have ever seen!” – Al Bell (Record producer, songwriter, executive, and co-owner of legendary Stax Records)

Raised amid the rich musical culture and history of the San Francisco Bay Area, Monophonics proudly carry the torch through the generations into today’s musical landscape. Holding on to tradition, but by no means purists of any kind, they play their own brand of music known as “Psychedelic Soul.”

The 2012 release of Monophonics last album In Your Brain saw the band pulling influences from such acts as early Funkadelic, Sly and The Family Stone and the The Temptation’s Norman Whitfield produced records. With the new album, Sound of Sinning (April 1, 2015 on Transistor Sound Records), the band has grown in all areas of record making and felt a need to explore other important influences. While the group has come to cherish these inspirations, with Sound of Sinning they started venturing beyond, to the groups that were inspiring those soul acts to embrace the psychedelic sound of the 60’s and 70’s. Bands such as The Zombies, The Beatles, Beach Boys and Pink Floyd. Even with the experimentation of new musical territory, they display the sound that people know and love about Monophonics. Touching on Northern soul, doo-wop, rock and roll, Psych pop, and cinematic music, Monophonics show off their diversity while remaining true to their roots. Overall it’s heartfelt music and old school vibes, without losing sight of the present. This is music steeped in that timeless feeling when people could write and produce songs that you could listen to over and over again. Sound of Sinning was produced by Kelly Finnigan & Ian McDonald and recorded on an old Tascam eight-track 1/4” tape machine at Transistor Sound Studios in San Rafael, CA.

Monophonics is Austin Bohlman (Drums), Myles O’Mahony (Bass/Background Vocals), Ian McDonald (Guitar/Background Vocals), Ryan Scott (Trumpet/Back- ground Vocals/Percussion) & Kelly Finnigan (Keys/Lead Vocals) along with a rotating 2nd horn usually filled by Nadav Nirenberg (Trombone) from Ikebe Shakedown and Breakdown Brass.
Con Brio
Con Brio
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 July 15th, 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.

In the second half of 2016, Con Brio embarked 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; with many more international dates to come throughout the year.

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.”
Venue Information:
Troubadour
9081 Santa Monica Blvd
Los Angeles, CA, 90069
http://www.troubadour.com/

All lineups and times subject to change