The Yohimbe Brothers @ The North Star Bar, Philadelphia, PA 2/22/03 (old Live REVIEW)
listen to Yohimbe Bros
The Yohimbe Brothers are a peek at what a wide variety of possibilities music has. Shows like this have to be seen. Really the review is so you go experience them live. Their main sound element is percussion, with DJ Logic on the turntables, Deantoni Parks on drums, and Jared Nickerson on bass. Each helps expand the sound and carrying on the Jam. This is some "shake your body" music, It's a powerhouse of rhythm. The sound has you jamming along and then WHAM! Your spun 360's in another good direction. It sure wasn't hard to let the funky Hip-Hop influence take my legs on a ride. Sure there's a DJ, involved here, but there's also Vernon Reid on guitar.
I love the North Star Bar because it brings such a wonderful "at your own home", feel to all music. The sound is superb and the crowd interacts directly with the musicians as opposed to security. I arrived at 9ish knowing that the Yohimbe Bros wouldn't be on for a bit. Two beers and a nice chat about DJ Logic later. The Yohimbe Bros took the stage. I was positioned in the attic (as I like to call it). It's a second floor balcony level that when standing against the railing places you about 7 feet above the heads of the performers looking right down on them. DJ Logic ripped out a nasty little beat combined with the bass and we were off on an evening of soul shaking or at least ass shaking grooves. I never had the opportunity to see Vernon Reid play live with Living Color, but from what I heard of his first few mean rips on the Guitar, I should have. He would float in and out of the beats and grooves ripping tight solos, and few extended Jams. All night I just wanted him to take control of the situation instead I got the feeling of the other way around with DJ Logic leading jams.
It was hard to pick apart songs except for the fact that the band stopped playing after each sound malay and usually Vernon Reid spoke a little bit. The music was made up of fast grooves with samples, computer generated sounds, keyboard solos, and guitar solos. They slowed down a little here and there, but the beat was kept pretty uplifting and kept us moving. DJ Logic was on the right side of the stage. He was behind a blazing blue lit set of chrome turntables. From the attic balcony his skills on the turn tables were like watching a master Sushi chef make sushi. DJ Logic sliced, diced, and cut the hell out of each record he slapped on to the turntables. I have respect for his abilities, to know what sounds fit into the jam isn't always done correctly. I think he has a similar style to DJ Apollo. Behind him was bass player Jared Nickerson, a very competent Bass Player. He hung in the back shadows for the show, but was a major part of the band's sound. While his playing was not showy, his tone was very full and rich and he held down a solid groove. Drummer Deantoni Parks was set up just behind Jared with a small drum set. This could have been due to lack of space on the North Star stage. He had only a snare drum, a cymbal, a computer drum machine, and a bass drum, but he beat a mean drum.
Latasha Diggs was set up as a perfect separator between DJ logic and Vernon Reid. She sang the main vocals for the band. Her singing was anything but normal. She sang beautiful melodies or scratchy, moaning, howls, using her vocals as a major part of this band's sound. Only bits here and there were actual words. She seemed tense but, she smiled and swayed back and forth. She also had a little computer pad that was mounted on a stand in front of her and could add computer enhancements to her voice which helped to get things pretty spacey. Keyboards featured fancy manipulations by Leon Grunbaum who was set up on the left side of the stage, but just behind Vernon Reid. This guy was wild! He had an organ and also played a small graffitied computer contraption that he wore around his waist, and this made some of the most unusual sounds to ever grace the North Star. Vernon Reid, played guitar in the front of stage left. Most of his leads sounded pretty standard but every now and then he would take me to another world. Sometimes his fingers flew across his Hamer guitar at amazing speed for leads, and other times he would sit back and help with subtle little licks.
The Highlight of the show for me had to be a solid funked out cover. The name, I don't know? The crowd sang to the verses it knew but Vernon really just belted out the funky lyrics. The band played for about 2 hrs and I couldn't name one song they played but being a live music fan I often just go and learn more by going. They held the crowds attention well and when it was over I felt that I had taken a nice journey into the minds of some great sound artists.
I suggest seeing the Yohimbe Bros before they blow up. They meld a great variety of musical styles that really allow the Jam scene to see the possibilities in a DJ. Oh, the possibilities I thought as I left the venue for my minute walk back to my apartment. I will see DJ Logic next Friday in Chicago with the Dirty Dozen Brass Band. Look for a review soon after.
Reviewed By Jake Krolick
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