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Beats Antique, Pearl Street Nightclub, Northampton, MA – 10/7

Photo by David Barnum

There’s “experimental” and “alternative”- and then there’s the wild carnival ride known as Beats Antique. Striking a match on the festival circuit and igniting the crowds at Bonnaroo and Lollapalooza, the Oakland, CA exports have toured with Bassnectar, Pretty Lights, and Les Claypool. The band is the brainchild of producer/musicians, Dave Satori and Tommy Cappel and belly dancer extraordinaire and producer Zoe Jakes. Their 26 city tour coincides with their just released CD Elektrafone.

Shaking the dance floor in Northampton, Beats Antique put on a visually arresting and musically vibrant show combining world roots music, electronica, marching band, and downtempo with American Tribal Fusion belly dance.

The instrumentals were the backdrop for the mesmerizing on-stage dancers, but the music shined through to the audience with built up heavy beats and electronic reverberations that had hips swaying until a frenetic dance party broke free. Beats Antique had Satori on electric Turkish banjo, viola, and digital effects, Cappel on drums, and Sylvain Carton on clarinet and sax. With slamming string and sax lines to driving drum beats and digital enhancements, they created a successful fusion of Middle Eastern and gypsy with modern dub-step and glitch.

Belly dancer Zoe Jakes had a powerfully seductive stage presence. Her ice blue eyes, gloriously tattooed body, and long dark hair, twirling with every move, was captivating. Her masterful solo performances showcased alternative belly dance moves with pop and lock isolations, deep core undulations and flutters, flamenco spins, and jazz ballet. Strapping on a marching band bass drum and hovering over the audience at the end of the stage, Jakes hammered out skillful big beats and was playful with the fans. Jakes added Bay Area dancers Auberon Shull and Ena Dallas to the hijinks. Whimsical and flamboyant, part vaudeville and burlesque, but still keeping it classy, the dancers had some comical choreography like hopping into an inflatable raft and sailing over the out-stretched hands of the filled-to-capacity crowd. Then Jakes, Scull, and Dallas donned long black boots and formed their own snare drum ensemble for the finale.

The sweat drenched audience fervently chanted “Beats Antique” until the band, wearing Mexican wresting masks, returned for an encore- with the dancers sporting animal heads- for an all out dance-off.

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