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Published: 2006/12/05
by Jeremy Sanchez

Brothers Past, The Canal Club, Richmond, VA- 11/10

Two local Richmond groups (Existor and The Grove) coupled to create an opening band for the Brothers Past show at Richmond, VA’s Canal Club. You could intermix those two names into a tongue-twisting list of potential new ones, but one certainty is that the combination worked on a musical level. The Existor/Grove crew built on bass-fat trance jams and kept the crowd moving, playing originals alongside improvised material. I’ll be looking and keeping the ears open for more of that in the Richmond area.
Admittedly, I’m no Brothers Past expert. I’d read a little press on them, took in part of a Bonnaroo set on a tired day-number-three, but at this first up close and personal performance, I enjoyed what I was hearing. Their cream is a tendency towards dance-pushing grooves and if a few of the vocal presentations/sections just don’t do it for me, most are spot on and always plunge into something juicier. It’s easy to recommend seeing them because their more interesting moments completely outweigh the otherwise.

Tom Hamilton (guitar, laptop for loops and synths, lead vocals) and Tom McKee (keyboards, vocals) work out an interesting sprawl of original sounding melodies, usually on a pop lean, with an energy that explodes into something akin to the Disco Biscuits, or STS9. Clay Parnell (bass, vocals) and Ilya Stemkovsky (drums) are necessarily steadfast as the music explores. All you have to do is watch the crowd and you’ll realize that the heads bob hardest and the kids start to spin at those moments where the kick drum’s landing steady, the bass is shaking the room and the guitar / keyboard effects swimming overhead are seemingly able to speak in tongues (sounding so unlike a guitar and keyboard “should”). The messages any song might try to convey are often fast forgotten in deference to the magic of pure danceable sound.

Brothers Past is, personally, more proof that leaps of faith in the music world are the only way to go, both as an artist and a consumer. It would have been easy enough to stay home and vegetate to the tube, rather than taking a drive to hear a band whose music I didn’t know. As it turned out, I will likely be back for more, given another random opportunity to do so.

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