Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Orgone Funk the EDM Out of Las Vegas

The Electric Daisy Carnival had just ended in Las Vegas on Sunday, but its remnants remained Monday morning.  Fluorescent-clad stragglers coated in a thin dust of MDMA stumbled along the Strip, dragging their luggage behind them, the bulbs on their jewelry still flashing, albeit weakly after three days of use.  That night around 10pm at Brooklyn Bowl, Los Angeles' Orgone revved up the "Meat Machine" and aggressively took back the Vegas music scene with a thick slab of uncut '70s funk.  For the next hour and 45 minutes, EDM had no place in this town.  The band transitioned into the Afrobeat-flavored "Cali Fever," guitarist Sergio Rios nodding his head with conviction.  In our interview just before the show, Rios proclaimed, "Once Adryon comes out, she immediately commands attention."  He wasn't lying.  Halfway through the song, the buxom Adryon de León appeared from backstage and strutted assuredly into position.  "Y'all ready to get funky out there?" she screamed, and steered the ship into Zhané's "Hey Mr. DJ."  While the set was heavy on material from their latest LP Beyond the Sun, they brought it all the way back to "Funky Nassau," which received an additional boost of percussion from the Nth Power's Nikki Glaspie.

Although Orgone is a definitely a team effort, bassist Dale Jennings absolutely murdered, popping off a killer solo in "All This Love That I'm Givin'," the first of two Gwen McCrae ditties in the set.  Not to be outdone, founding member Dan Hastie stacked a keys solo onto its tail.  Next up was an instrumental one-two punch that personally made my night: "Sabi," a tune I'd been dancing wildly to in my hotel room a few hours earlier, and "Sophisticated Honky," the track that first got me hooked on Orgone back in 2007.  Following a supercharged "I'm a Woman (I'm a Backbone)," they revisited the works of Mrs. McCrae with "Keep the Fire Burning," executed so potently that three fans in the front spontaneously choreographed a backup singer-inspired dance routine.  For the set's closing number, Orgone chose a cover of Betty Wright's "Let Me Be Your Lovemaker," where de León invited hornsmen Darren Cardoza and JJ Kirkpatrick downstage to show off their chops.  "My watch tells me we've got a little more time," Adryon said, motioning to her bare wrist, and called for one last spirited guitar solo from Serge. 

Percussionist Will Phillips came out alone for the encore, holding what looked to be a tambourine.  It turned out to be a pandeiro, a type of Brazilian frame drum.  And believe me, you've never heard such alluring sounds come out of a tambourine.  The rest of Orgone joined Phillips and gave Gwen's hubby George McCrae's "I Get Lifted" a final funky spin to end the evening, successfully purifying Vegas' ears.

ORGONE - 06.22.15 - BROOKLYN BOWL LAS VEGAS (1 hour, 43 minutes)

Meat Machine > Cali Fever > Hey Mr. DJ / Do What You Came to Do* / Losin You > Funky Nassau / Take You Higher / Down, Down, Down / All This Love That I'm Givin' / Sabi / Sophisticated Honky / People Beyond the Sun / Don't Stop / I'm a Woman (I'm a Backbone) / Keep the Fire Burning / Let Me Be Your Lovemaker

Pandeiro Solo > I Get Lifted

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