Posted November 9, 2013 by Gerard O'Sullivan in Show Reviews

Shabazz Palaces, Natasha Kmeto, Minden // 11-5-13 // Doug Fir


Shabazz Palaces of Seattle drew a sellout crowd to the Doug Fir Tuesday night for the second edition of the Red Bull Sound Select series, a run of shows happening every second Tuesday in Portland for the next few months curated by different entities.

This particular show was curated by our friends at Banana Stand Media, in which fans were lured in with $3 tickets, free drinks, two local acts, and of course the headliners: Shabazz Palaces.

The crowd showed up early to secure entry and were treated to a set from Minden, voted one of the Best New Bands of 2013 by Willamette Week recently. The newly transplanted band may have found their home for their glam-rock sound here in Portland. Frontman, Casey Burge sported a full leopard print body suit and lead the early crowd in melodic dancing throughout their 40-minute set.

Next up was another of Portland’s own, Natasha Kmeto, who demonstrated her excellent ability to compose by tweaking various electronic boards and laptops. These beautifully crafted R&B beats were backed up by her soulful lyrics. Her set provided the most danceable music of the night and many in the crowd took their opportunity to get their grind on. Kmeto capped off her set with the hypnotic “Last Time” off her newly released album Crisis.

As I sat waiting for Shabazz Palaces to take the stage, I was approached by a young man who asked “You into Shabazz?”. Turns out it was the son of Tendai “Baba” Maraire, half of the Shbazz duo. As we discussed the band’s rise over the past four years, I asked him for a genre to describe his father’s music and he quickly answered that this music is “Trip-Hop… the future.” This family has a string musical lineage; “Baba” is the son of Dumisani Mararie, a revered master of the mbira, a traditional instrument of Zimbabwe.

As Shabazz Palaces took the stage they immediately demonstrated this futuristic sound that I was admittedly unfamiliar with yet immediately understood. This was not the dance party that I was expecting but subdued, complex layered beats, effortless rhymes and multiple percussions weaving together seamlessly right to your dome.

Palaceer Lazaro (aka Ishmael Butler), formerly of 90s hip hop sesnsations Digable Planets,  plays the frontman providing the lead vocals and deep electronic beats via his multiple samplers and drum pad kits.

The duo weaved a set filled with relentless driving rhythms with masterful spitting of lyrics that left the still packed house to head into the night feeling like they had just tasted a bit of the future, after all it was well after midnight and a new day when it was all said and done.

Gerard O'Sullivan



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