06.21.2010 | Make Music New York: General Elektriks | Hiro Ballroom

As part of Make Music New York, a "unique festival of free concerts in public spaces throughout the five boroughs of New York City", I attended the French contribution at the Hiro Ballroom (oddly, a Japanese-themed club). A logical choice seeing as how Make Music New York is based on France’s “FĂȘte de la Musique,” a national musical holiday inaugurated in 1982, but has now spread internationally.

I arrived in time to catch La Grande Sophie who I can only place in the American equivalent as somewhere between Paula Cole and Rachel Yamagata but with the grand aim of being like Feist. As this means that she ultimately falls between two artists that je n'aime pas, I cannot say that I was sad to see her leave the stage. I will say that I did enjoy the jazz influences in her music and the varied percussion knick-knacks she brought to the stage.

In an almost 180 degree change in musical styling, the next act, General Elektriks brought a raucous energy to the stage. The band is essentially a solo project conceived by HervĂ© ‘RV’ Salters, a French expat who now resides in the Bay area (by way of Seattle) and whose impressive resume includes collaborations with Femi Kuti, Blackalicious, and Lyrics Born. GE's performance was stimulating both auditorily and visually. Salters' clearly classical training is apparent in the way he owns the keyboard, comfortably navigating through jazz chord progressions and baroque keyboard solos. And he does it all while jumping about three feet in the air! He was not the only star of the stage though. His four man backing band included a guy wailing on the xylophone and a bass player who looked like a cross between Jimi Hendrix and a Harlem Globetrotter. With such diverse instrumentation which included the aforementioned xylophone in addition to guitar, bass, drums, MPC, and maybe three keyboards, it's no doubt that the end result mixed multiple genres. Throughout their set I heard punk mashed with funk, pop mixed bossa nova, and even some DragonForce. Unfortunately their recorded tracks do not do them justice; one must see them live to fully appreciate the spectacle that is General Elektriks. They are on tour now in Europe, so for those state-side, amuse yourself with this video:
As an aside, it seems crazy Hendrix/Globetrotter dude appears to wear the exact same outfit to every show.
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June 28, 2010 at 8:27 PM ×

Did you take that video? It is very good quality!

Congrats bro Unknown you got PERTAMAX...! hehehehe...