Live Review: Full Tang with Elephant Wrecking Ball

Pheonix Landing // Cambridge, MA // March 1, 2011

Full Tang celebrated the new month with Elephant Wrecking Ball and Hi-Gate Soundsystem at Phamily Night in Cambridge’s Phoenix Landing. The atmosphere was comfortable, with just enough people to have a good time and plenty of room to dance.

Elephant Wrecking Ball, a sideways concoction of Berklee misfits and the Boston music scene, complimented Full Tang well. Members include Scott Flynn of John Brown’s Body on Trombone, Neal Evans on drums, and Dan Africano on bass. The results?- Bold instrumentation, where individual sounds have their own distinguished place in the compositional whole. Sonicly, the band is right on point  in their ability to combine effortless skill with fun and freak.

Led by an uninhibited Flynn armed with his trombone and a sizable pedal setup (think long, drawn out tromboning on psychadelics), Elephant Wrecking Ball composites as a strange, yet consistently funky kind of jam. Their brassy, off-beat mentality was augmented by the band’s visuals, which engulfed Evans’ drumming. Loops of eerie cosmic videos by Javier Cruz splashed over Evans’ enormous afro. Accosting and deliberate, Elephant Wrecking Ball is something fresh for the Boston music scene.

Full Tang, ushering in their new March residency on Wednesdays at the Lizard Lounge, has been playing a lot of shows in the area recently. They plan to record at all 5 shows of their residency, incorporating their live footage with studio and video content to be released in an album later in the year.

The band is an amalgamation of pop, rock, and African rhythms. It’s not something we’re used to hearing around the local scene. Full Tang’s vocal qualities are often hushed and harmonic, a lot like what you’d hear in persistent folk music’s pop persona. The band members, as opposed to Elephant Wrecking Ball, are all from the New England Conservatory. Multiple times throughout their set they switched instruments, traded lead vocals, and supplied a completely organic, but well put together performance. Every element is interchangeable and part of the whole, which is quite different from the previous act, but just as talented and well conceived.

Full Tang has come a long way since their inception years ago. Their music has evolved to incorporate celebratory pan-African sounds with the smooth exterior of folk-rock. There is something contenting about Full Tang’s music. At first, I never expected to hear lyrics, but I found that they blended in softly against the backdrop of the jumpy, danceable afrobeat rhythms.

Full Tang formed under the internationally recognized afrobeat outfit The Superpowers, and have maintained the integrity of what they call their “big-band” sound ever since. Band members Adam Clark, Eric Lane, Ryan Dugre, and Danilo Henriquez have created a danceable account of world music, reflecting on the diversity and raw talent among Boston’s musicians. In an explosion of cultural influence, Full Tang fuses the foot-shuffling, hip-swinging rhythms of Caribbean and African music with the relevancy of popular rock.

Stay tuned for more Full Tang, and check them out in Cambridge at the Lizard Lounge every Wednesday in March! By Amanda Macchia.

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  1. Pingback: Full tangs | Travelwithabig

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