April 29, 2016

ITHACA A-LIVE | Tweehouse Beat-House

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This last Saturday, April 23, a talented lineup of Ithaca-based artists graciously performed a house show at Tweehouse. They were Tender Cruncher, B33T JU1C3, Kristina Camille, and Winston Bongo. I’ll be covering this show solo.

Unfortunately, I missed most of Tender Crusher, but check out their soundcloud for some spacey, electronic dance beats and some soulful talk-singing.

B33T JU1C3 played funky afro-pop-rock. Ekwem Bogmis kept the tunes grooving with his sultry vocals and clever bass-lines while Brendon Caroselli kept the hips moving from behind the drums. Their summer-ready music effortlessly infuses psychedelia with reggae and R&B influences. It’s hard to describe, but easy to listen and dance to so check it out for yourself.

While listeners patiently awaited Kristina Camille’s arrival, Bogmis messed around with looping vocals and Caroselli kept the beats coming, as in this video from their recent show at the Silver Line Tap Room. I believe I heard talk of a much-deserved upcoming international tour, but if you get the chance to see this talented duo perform before they leave Ithaca, don’t pass it up! B33T JU1C3 is headed for big things.

Kristina Camille describes her music as a mix of jazz and soul, but she also incorporates hip-hop. When she arrived, the vibe shifted to a relaxed sit-down show, with everyone sitting criss-cross on the floor. Unfortunately, her sweet slow-jam beats were played from some weak speakers due to technical difficulties, but despite this unforeseen challenge, she still exercised impressive control over her voice. Her inspiring lyrics spoke to me more this night than when she performed at the Lodge on April 15 (see Olivia’s article here ). This time, sitting within a quieter audience, I could hear all of her poignant words both within and between songs. She is both unapologetic and approachable, sharing wisdom gained from painful experiences with brave directness.

Camille is not only a fantastic vocalist and lyricist, but a quick-witted improviser. She has this theme of closing her sets with an improvisational song that incorporates audience volunteered flavors and issues into the lyrics. At the Lodge, she riffed on women’s rights and spaghetti. This night she managed to spontaneously sing about the California water crisis and cool ranch. The results have been clever songs that poignantly cover modern issues with grace and a bit of humor. Her new album will be released very soon, but while you wait, she has an old one, Vivian (2015), on Spotify. Check her out!

Winston Bongo finished the night, bringing the audience to their feet again for an experimental, immersive dance experience. The lights were turned off and they played leaning over a square table of electronic and miscellaneous percussion instruments lit only by a couple candles. They performed one song that lasted somewhere between 15 and 20 minutes—their longest set so far. Each musician fed off each other’s energy, allowing the song to evolve spontaneously. Throughout the spacey electronic song, guiro and cowbell answered each other from across the table, maintaining a funky dance-beat. Those fifteen minutes seemed much too brief – I’d love to hear a much longer set. When the lights came back on, I could tell that  the audience craved  more. Join the Winson Bongo party.