Earlier this month, Oakland-based trio Beats Antique traversed through their seethingly tribal set at the Abbey Pub in Chicago. We were there to cover the show for Ink19. Now, here’s what happened as the scene grew more exotic and eccentric with each passing moment.
Almost instantly the crowd moved as if they were one large organic mass of glorious rhythm swaying and grooving to mystical fusion of jazz, middle eastern melodies and electronic beats.
It was more than a show. It was a celebration that carried on into the early morning hours as David Satori (guitar, saz, viola, and percussion), Sidecar Tommy Cappel (keys, toy piano, drums, and percussion), and ZoĂŤ Jakes (belly dancer, composer, and arranger) led fans through tracks from their latest album Blind Threshold.
In small pockets throughout the venue, some fans closed their eyes and lifted their arms in worship, while others moved their hips in perfect sync with the music and those around them.
Though most of the show was purely instrumental and anchored by a blending of live drums, electro-beats and sensual visuals of bellydancing (see fan video below), the unified voice of the band was undeniable.
The set flowed on like a mighty visceral river of sound that rushed forward then slowed down again creating a rhythm that captivated me like a mystical snake charmer.
One of the many peaks of the night came when Oakland-based artist Lynx joined the band on stage to sing “Rising Tide,” a track from Blind Threshold that she also guests on.
Besides that pivotal moment, Lynx also opened the show. She gorgeously and gracefully showcased her ability to captivate fans with a set that burned bright and took us on an emotive and wonderfully eclectic and intimate journey.
It was the first time that I had heard her music, and Lynx’s one-woman show was surprisingly dynamic and tenacious.
Armed with a laptop, a single snare drum and a sweet siren voice, she traveled through simple, yet extremely intricate, folk, trip-hop and electronica-based ballads.
Each song listened like a soul-opening two-way mirror, because as it unfolded, you saw into her heart while she opened up yours.
Mixing poetry, spoken word-style lyrics and a stunning moment of eye-popping beat-boxing, she finished up strong with a series of stunning songs filled with joy, sadness, pain and hope. And all the while, making the performance both personal and universal.
As the night neared it’s end, it was obvious. Beats Antique knows exactly where they want to take a live audience. They’ve been cultivating celebratory live scenes this Abbey Pub show in cities across the world since early 2003, and even long before that with various side projects and solo efforts.
That said, Beats Antique is a sonic force that can woo and rock a crowd with ease and precision.
If any single element could enhance their live show, it would be to add more vocals to the ferocious current of the instrumental vibe. And I wish there was a bit more room to groove too, only because the sheer expansiveness of the music grips you and makes you want to let loose.
But unlike an outdoor music festival, the tight quarters of the venue made sure fans kept the celebrating and dancing somewhat contained. And that didn’t stop you from feeling the crowd’s rave-like intensity building and growing stronger during almost every song.
I stood amidst the twirling and dancing fans on the main floor as we all gazed up at the band. Though they remained on the stage and journey through Blind Threshold’s glorious fusion of gypsy violin, flamenco hand-clapping, Romanian wedding melodies and chest-rattling dub-step, I felt as though the band wanted to leap from the stage with their instruments and become one with the massive celebration they had created.
Unfortunately that physical barrier was never fully breached.
But I hope next time it will be.
Download Blind Threshold via: or Amazon
Stay tuned for an exclusive fan interview with a local artist who tells us why we was inspired to create his art during the Beats Antique show.