For those of you who don’t know Balkan Beat Box, please look them up and then read this review; for those of you who know of Balkan Beat Box, keep reading. If you know what BBB is about, then you probably know they keep getting better and better with each show. Continuing to celebrate their album “Blue Eyed Black Boy” with headliners such as ‘Move It’,’War Again’, ‘My Baby’, and old favorites like ‘Hermetico’, Balkan Beat Box joined us at the Trocadero on April 28th at the Trocadero in Philadelphia. The night began with a dubstep-esque electro-tropical folk DJ UpRoot Andy, setting the stage for Balkan Beat Box’s lively show.
The New York based Israli-hiphop-jazz-Klezmer reggae-Mediterranean rock – yep, you read that correctly – is a category all of it’s own. It’s a melting pot of the history and cultural influences on Kaplan and Tamir Muskat, the brothers leading the band, and combines …well, read the above list. They’re now in New York, and seem to channel the cultures and lifestyles of the city and pull it into their driving rhythms. Electronically-led folk with double woodwinds, two drummers, guitarist, bassist, and nearly everyone singing backup vocals? Urban hip-hop traditional ‘old-world’ music and a DJ-mixing drummer? I don’t know if I could put it in any simpler terms, besides amazing. Balkan Beat Box truly knows how to rock, and their energetic shows around the country continue to build and grow and amaze crowds.
I’ve been a musician for as long as I can remember. I’ve also been going to shows for what seems just as long. This was probably the most energetic show I’ve ever been a part of. The crowd was one continuous fluid movement from beginning to end; the band fed off the crowd and somehow was able to ramp up each song just a bit more. The crowd jumped, rejoiced, sang, ebbed and flowed with eachother’s movements and the complexities of Talmudi’s and Hess’s dueling saxophones.
This was far from one of those shows with small groups standing and talking, or with a noticable gap between the baracade and the frontline – Tamir need only take the stage for the crowd to unify as one ocean of energetic dancing, hands in the air, for the entire show. Even when BBB left the stage for a break before a multi-song encore, the crowd continued it’s writhing and infectious joy. It’s more than spiced-up traditional or world music; it’s a movement growing momentum with every show and conversation. For the next few weeks they head overseas, but grace the east coast again in New York City on July 21st at the Brooklyn Bowl. Well worth the drive; if you’re local, I expect to see you there.
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