Venue: Molly Malone's
City: Los Angeles, CA
Material: As his music video plays on a screen behind him Sidney B! quips, “I’m so fresh.” His music is indeed a fresh blend of rap and funk that is both inventive and fun. What you are getting is something like Jamiroquai meets early Red Hot Chili Peppers. Sidney was born in France and his song “Human Again” is reminiscent of another French performer, Patrick Hernandez, made famous by his classic hit “Born To Be Alive.” What is further intriguing is that Hernandez's song was considered disco, whereas Sidney self-categorizes as electro. This inspires a look into the music history not only behind those genres but funk and boogie too. Sidney gives you a taste of it all in a medley of Michael Jackson, Earth, Wind & Fire, and James Brown.
Musicianship: The band is tight, for the most part, but experience some challenges in part due to low guitar and monitor levels. Arguably, the guitar or keyboard should have come up in the mix, but Andrews is essential and rightly takes the spotlight. Fortunately, Chatkoo does not overplay, which allows Vidopio and Bradarich the space they need to overcome technical challenges which appear to include a bad guitar cable. Vidopio does not let that stop the boogie beat. He troubleshoots on the spot and recovers quickly.
Performance: This band knows how to put on a good show, immediately evidenced by both physical attire and backdrop. In most professional shows we expect the band to play at certain points of the performance on their own without the presence of the main performer. Sidney works going off stage into the act with his original song “Nowhere To Be Found” where he theatrically claims to be looking for his missing girlfriend. Similarly, Sidney incorporates the standard band introduction section with all the expected solos.
Summary: It is clear from certain numbers in the set that this group does know how to work with their dynamics to highlight the sounds of all instruments involved. Continuing to play
with individual sound level outputs will make the overall performance tighter. While the set does not include a Red Hot Chili Peppers cover, their original “Blame The High” is similar to that group’s hit “Knock Me Down,” which Sidney could also easily pull off as he has Faith and Kutoa to do so.
The Players: Sidney B!, vocalist; Hillary Faith, back up vocalist; Jasmine Kutoa, back up vocalist; Art Chatkoo, drums; Zach Andrews, bass; J.V. Vidopio, guitar; Phil Bradarich, keyboard.
Photo by Marco Victor Saludares