|photo by Nelson Hernandez|
With Boxwood, Radioboxer, and others
Saturday, September 26, 2009
Better Than: Wandering through Bayside wondering why you're broke.
Catastrophic Euphoria, the musical kaleidoscope stuffed into P.S. 14's backyard this past Saturday night, was organized with three intentions. First and foremost, the event was a fundraiser for Invisible Children, an organization dedicated to helping children in war-torn Northern Uganda. The second reason was, ostensibly, to celebrate the latest issue of Backslash magazine -- though the only involvement seemed to be when someone from the magazine showed up to drop a box of the latest issue and booking. Last, but certainly not least, it was meant to celebrate the best in local dubstep and live rock.
The night started with a rotating lineup of MCs Jumanji and Dos, freestyling over DJ Mr. Alvarez's chest-shattering beats. (The bass drum onstage vibrated so hard, I couldn't read the stickers on it.) Jumanji and Dos swapped mike time, weaving effortlessly through each other's rhymes, playing off one another and giving Alvarez his due.
But the evening's best performance came next, from the one-man band known as Boxwood (Jose Ferrer). He is the most inspiring case for music in this city, and that's not an overstatement. He's a multimedia act in the vein of Animal Collective, providing an inspiring romp through looping drum beats, clicks, and beautiful guitar melodies. As Ferrer sang, he looked at his feet, but his voice seemed to stare you straight in the eye, earnestly reaching out and breaking your heart with sincerity. Seriously, get to know him.
After his last song, Boxwood ceded the stage back to Dos and Jumanji, who were joined by Cobes and Jacob Abdulla (formerly of Divided by Silence), adding a new dynamic to what was to become a three-way roll of lyrical stylings. They played on until Huma Rojo took the stage.
Dámaris Vicke, Javier Güell, Daniella Bertoldi, and Jonathan Colorado make up this quartet, whose first album (according to their web site) is on the way. With stage decor of scattered mannequin heads and lamps, and enough Korg for even the most synth-a-philic listener, they proceeded to crank out a sound that plays like an ever-building crescendo. That sonic squeeze carried over into the final act of the night, hometown heroes of the present and future, Radioboxer.
There isn't anything more to say about this band -- other than the fact that the group is ready to break out of the local scene and explode. Radioboxer's usual stage show involves face paint, screaming fits, and beautiful music, and it's clear that something grand is coming for them. Enjoy them at your local establishments, ladies and gentlemen; this is a limited-time offer.
Personal Bias: This was my first trip to PS14, and certainly not the last.
Random Detail: Mr. Alvarez injected Coldplay's "Clocks" into one of his mixes in such a way that it seemed fresh for the first time in years.
By the Way: Boxwood's debut album, The Secret Life of Rocks, is available online on the site for his label, Pollen Records.
-- Nelson Hernandez