I will never truly understand why my Christian peers and I have a habit of hiding candy and eggs the night before Easter only to find them and eat them the next day for our Lord and Savior; but damn – I needed a headline and this was timely; The best Easter find to date for me and the local music scene was at the Icehouse this past Saturday with The Violet Nines and Benny Nord. I always go into local shows a bit nervous because the sound of a studio doesn’t always convert well to a live stage – but damn, I was put in my place by these two acts; Sometimes my assumptions make an ass of me and this is truly one of those times.
I had two of my day-ones with me on the way to this show, one of which is a part of a band you should also check out (see below for links) but tonight wasn’t about The Quarries – it was about a Purple-Passioned band and a DJ. We got to the Icehouse as the bass was dropping and pounding from stage – Benny Nord was on the beat.
Benny blew my socks off and it’s not just his mixing and production that wow’d me. When you hear of an up-and-coming DJ you… well, I – get nervous. A lot of people hear a Skrillex song and go “I CAN DO THAT” and that may have been how Benny started but he has taken his own unique direction and brought a key personality component that I’ve seen separate the “boys from men.”
In terms of a unique approach, Benny brought a spring-time swagger to the stage with his free-flowing hair and Hawaiian shirt, while keeping the cutest smile on his face the entire time; and that gets to my second point about standing out from the local scene; anyone can mix a few beats and slap a DJ title on their Instagram, but it’s my experience that authentic people are the ones who truly gain a following and break apart from the crowds of wannabes and Benny brings this. If not clear on stage, I met up with him afterward and he was just the nicest, most upbeat guy – no “I’m too good for the masses” energy from this guy which will be a key to his rise in the ranks going forward. Go check him out HERE. The last thing that I want to speak to is reading a room and audience interaction; Benny brings the heat when the crowd wants it, and knows when to lay off the bass – if the line at the bar was long, the vibe chilled out. When the crowd was packed; the music was banging; absolute art. His remix of “Do It To It” legit had me fist-bumping and my friends were embarrassed but that is what tequila does to me, okay?
After Benny, we had a bit of a break. A very intoxicated individual was making their rounds trying to mooch drinks as the bar had them cut off – that was what we will be coining as the intermission-entertainment like at a sporting event, but unlike most entertainers – this person was unpaid and unwanted; They finally got the message to leave us alone as we took our seats “courtside” (stageside) at a table. We were less than 5 feet away from the band, close enough to admire the swag-tastic boots of guitar-man and vocalist, Nick, and the dope golden zebra-printed pants of lead singer Hayley. I’ve known Hayley since high school, but I did NOT know Hayley the bad-ass vocalist until this night and just WOW.
Those two were a treat to sit right next to, but we also had first row tickets to the heart-beat of the band, drummer and percussion-guru Austin that wow’d me to the point where I had to put my camera on Slo-mo mode just to see what the hell he was doing with those sticks; We gotta check if this guy has any transaction history with the Devil somehow because the grace of his drumming is soul-exchanged worthy. Gods be with you, Austin, if this suspicion is true! ha.
Slapping the bass we had Delon Smith who had my attention a lot of the night as he and Austin seemed to be synchronized like a well-oiled engine. When the bass and drums are grooving to the same beat and soul, wonderful things happen and Smith didn’t miss a beat the entire night; the bass-line for the band was solid and sexy to the ears. I had to save my personal favorite for last though, as I gotta reiterate – the modern “cowbell” in music is brass, and my lord did Ben Cline blow us away (literally) with his saxophone and keyboard action. At one point, Cline literally went out into the audience for a sax solo, with another solo (again, literally) in my face; I cried… twice.
The band overall seems to be tight musically and socially; their energy and chemistry on stage was dripping as they did things like got the crowd to “get low” for a song or two, throwing in some crowd-play-along-clapping beats and so much more. Nick and Hayley were the vocals, but the entire group was talking and laughing between sets and just vibing – simply put. Some highlights throughout the act were covers of “Sweet Child O Mine” and “Valerie” – funk’d up, of course.
And that’s really the point I want to end on – this band doesn’t fuck around and instead Funks around in such a way that has me wanting to see them again as soon as possible. The entire venue was vibing, all two floors of it, while the Nines rocked our socks off. If you support local music, and care about quality art – Google them right now and don’t lose sight of The Violet Nines; they aren’t going anywhere, and before they sell out First Avenue, you gotta see them as soon as possible.