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EPIPHANY & ONE NIGHT STAND March 26, 2008

Posted by glenhooks in Show Reviews.
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Confession:  I have a seriously fierce bandcrush on Epiphany & One Night Stand.   

The kind of bandcrush that I’ve only had a few times in the History of Glen.  It usually happens when I stumble across an act that brings it in a new way, with a new sound and a new vibe.  Think Devo, with their robotic herky-jerk.  Think about Rage Against the Machine’s uncompromising fist-in-your-face meld of rap and funk/metal.  Think Stone Roses–so lush and British that my bangs magically grew over my eyes while I involuntarily shoegazed.   Locally, think The Moving Front, who mashup 80s keyboards and guitar sounds with smart, punkish vocals.  Each of these bands I’ve loved in a way that’s different from my appreciation of other music over the years.

Epiphany & One Night Stand are now officially added to the list.

I had the chance to see this act twice in the last ten days–once at a Sierra Club “Energy Shift” concert, and last night at a taping in Conway for AETN’s “Front Row” series.    This is a musical act in the true sense of the word.  It’s not a rapper vocalizing over a pre-recorded track, although Epiphany would probably hold his own in any battle.   This man’s style is intelligent, thoughtful, bitches-and-hoes-free, and madly skillful, in the smart vein of Mos Def or KRS-One, but with a southern flair that makes it utterly his own.  Take Piph’s rhyming and add the diva soulful vocals of Gina Gee.  Add the rock edge of Sixtring’s guitar, then mix in keyboards, bass, drums—this is a sound that I haven’t heard before.  It’s not rap, it’s not hip hop, it’s not soul, it’s not rock, it’s not jazz.  It’s the whole enchilada, and I’m diggin’ it hard.

All the times that I’ve seen these folks before have been in a club setting:   Sticky Fingerz, The Village, Downtown Music.  On the way to AETN last night, I was very curious how the incredible live show would carry over to an austere public television studio, with TV cameras rolling.  The vibe is an important thing–would folks react well without the social atmosphere and alcohol that fuels crowd reaction in a club?  A real challenge.

The challenge was met.  Piph and the band strolled onstage quietly, but quickly took over to the point where the onstage monitor was visibly smoking.  Before too long, the heads were bobbing, hands were waving, and the vibe was building strong.  At mid-point, Epiphany brought excellent onstage the excellent horn of Rodney Block to help out on “Can’t Tell,” who added an extra sonic layer of jazz to a hit that was already bringing folks out of their chairs.   The set ended with an electric hand-waving singalong of “5 Dollas” that I can’t get out of my head hours later.  CheckOneTwo predicts big things ahead for these folks.

Check out Epiphany & One Night Stand when this set broadcasts on AETN April 16.   This ain’t your father’s PBS. 

Sibilance,

Glen

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