Material: Groove Martini is not your typical cover band. It is made unique by two incredible female lead vocalists, Suresh and Almas, who are able to cover artists like Mariah Carey and Michael Jackson to near perfection. The end result is an old-fashioned- style revue show. At times the band’s covers are arguably better than the originals. Not only does Groove Martini perform album-accurate covers, but they also take full advantage of their 10-member band and create a daring, high-energy performance.
Musicianship: An example of this experimentation is their rendition of Prince’s “I Wanna Be Your Lover.” The band takes advantage of the jam-worthiness of the tune by incorporating extensive solos from each member of their horn section. Valerino, Shackelford and Hurd are best utilized during the band’s cover of Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition” where Goh has fun with the funky rhythm. Keeping true to the spirit of the originals, Ramirez sports a voice modulator during Michael Jackson’s “P.Y.T.,” doing Quincy Jones proud. Nazar and Clark complement each other nicely; Nazar makes good use of cabasa throughout.
Performance: Suresh had issues being heard in the mix for the first few songs, but this was eventually resolved. Almas got spotlighted on songs like Elle King’s “Ex’s and Oh’s,” with a perfect bluesy growl. While Suresh is also a strong vocalist she really made heads turn with her solid rapping on songs like “Bang Bang” (Nicki Minaj) and “Lady Marmalade” (Lil’ Kim). Their cover of Mariah Carey’s “Make It Happen” had a great bass groove from Nair that kept the energy up, but may have been taken at too fast a tempo as Suresh and Almas seemed to struggle to keep up. Suresh had a sense of humor about the situation by saying, “Thank you! We made it happen!”
Summary: Groove Martini struggled at points to get everyone heard in the mix and could work on their dynamics to come down more for the vocal and instrumental sections. This may also help keep the band more in sync as they seem to be challenged by the uptempo songs in their set. Regardless, the band is quite polished, put on a fun, high-energy performance and know how to keep their audience engaged.
The Players: Suvi Suresh, vocals; Aiym Almas, vocals; Lemuel Clark, drummer; Zach Nazar, percussion; Leo Goh, guitar; Nipun Nair, bass; Avelino Ramirez, keyboard; Brandon Valerino, saxophone, flute; Sean Shackelford, trombone; Tristan Hurd, trumpet.
Photo by Daniel Lee
Looking to get your music reviewed in the magazine? Click HERE!