What is it about this guy Stylust Beats I like so much? The first time I saw him perform was at about approximately hour 27 of the 64 hours of music at the Grand Sierra’s Great Depresssurization Chamber in Reno after Burning Man. Every time since then Stylust Beats (aka Geoff Reich) has been consistently one of the more fun acts to dance to.
Fat basslines, fun mash-ups and remixes, talented djing, funky beats and some serious kicks have allowed Stylust to collect fans without being a flash-in-the-pan “EDM hype” act. His growth and talent has brought attention of world-renowned producers (his collaboration with Bassnectar for Bassnectar’s NVSB Remix album hit over half million plays) as well as acclaimed press outlets.
“My goal is to make timeless bass music: I try to make every track an epic melodic adventure through many different genres,” says Reich in a recent interview for MusicYouNeed.net. It’s a ride that’s apparent when you listen to his Grassroots-California-sponsored release, “The Pocket Tape.” Purple beats, hyphy, trap, hip hop and just the right amount of filthy dubstep takes the listener on perfectly-mapped road-trip criss-crossing genres. The next beat is always up in the air, and I find myself exclaiming “NICE!” frequently when a mash-up, remix or sample gets brought in.
Blending classic turntablism with cutting edge tech prowess, Geoff has been touring as Stylust Beats since 2008. Inspired by his older brother who was in a band, Stylust Beats began testing his musical mettle on turntables in 1998. His imaginative spins of counter-intuitive genres were new territory back then, and he quickly gained fame as a fearless, party-rocking DJ reinventing the game. Within a couple of years, he took on the daunting challenge of producing and managing his own recording house, All-In Studios, which he ran successfully for ten years. This was the laboratory within which Reich evolved from bass DJ to mad scientist, cutting his own brand of sonic mixology and perfecting his craft as prime-time producer.
What I love about Stylust Beats is clearly even though his work ethic is insane and his productions top-notch, his music is still fun, approachable, and funky. This is something I’ve noticed with people who come from the hip hop genre: your purpose is to lay down jams to dance. With Stylust Beats, he not only excels it this, but does so without pretentiousness and is a killer Dj too.
You can catch Stylust Beats at Art Haus Cinema on December 6th, 2014. 9:30pm, 21+.
Certain genres of music cycle in and out of style like traditional medicine. We can compare this to the “old wives tales” cures for ailments that are re-discovered as better than the conventional and new pharmaceutical drugs. Roots music has been turning the ears of more and more people, potentially due to it fixing symptoms brought on by a cold, sterile and hollow entertainment industry, who force-feed mediocrity and garbage to the masses that lacks substance, message and intention.
Nahko, an Oregon-native born a mix of Apache, Puerto Rican, and Filipino cultures and adopted into an American family, suffered an identity crisis from an early age. When he took up the piano at age six, the unifying power of music entered his life and brought him harmony. Armed with his newfound talent, he set out to bridge the cultural gaps dividing his own psyche. He began producing a public, musical journal of his journey toward personal, spiritual, and communal healing, and thus Medicine for the People was born.
Medicine indeed….you can’t leave a Nahko show without feeling slightly healed. The soul and feeling exploding from the voice and sounds from Nahko’s stage is filled with messages of love, revolt, hope, struggle and community. The band, consisting of Nahko Bear, Chase Makai, Dustin Thomas, Justin Chittams & Hope Medford, weaves it’s roots influences which include Hawaiian, blues, reggae and folk but these guys rock like a rock and roll or punk show. You may have caught their explosive performance at Wanderlust last July. The energy in that tent spread goosebumps across everyone’s bodies. I didn’t see a face without an exhilarated smile plastered across it.
It’s an exhilaration brought on by a uplifting vocals, driving drum beats and intense energy from a band who seems a perfect proprietary blend of Bob Marley’s spiritual and political leanings, Michael Franti’s community, Pearl Jam’s independence and rock intensity and Cecilio and Kapono’s Hawaiian influence. If you take this pill, not dancing is near impossible at a Nahko tribe party. This is spreading too, as seen by the almost 3 million plays on their video for “Aloha Ke Akua.”
This band is going to outgrow the Crystal Bay Club fast, so you really want to make sure you see this act in such an intimate setting.
Admittedly, I have turned into that annoying “no TV” guy. When someone asks me “Did you see that commercial about the dog and the guy and the toilet?” I start with “no.” Usually I am asked in return “How have you not seen that? It’s on all the time” to which I have to respond “I don’t own a television.” I don’t think I’m better than anyone who owns one; TV and I have been roommates on and off since I was little. Eventually I realized I function better without one. I end up watching dumb stuff for no reason, and I think back about all that GARBAGE I watched growing up and it kind of sickens me.
However, the final tossing of the boob tube onto the sidewalk with a “FREE (works)” sign attached happened when I discovered Reno’s indie theater scene. My parents took me to big production plays when I was young, and you are also currently reading the yammerings of Sycamore Junior High’s lead actor of The Phantom Toolbooth (Milo). After that, theater kind disappeared in my life.
My friend took me to Pageant at Brüka Theater many years ago and I walked out with my stomach muscles in agony from laughter. That one experience inspired me to buy season tickets for a few years, and in doing so I realized there is even more “like that” in Reno. These performances were the final nail in the coffin for the big black box. In theater, storytelling, stand-up, etc, there are no overdubs, reshoots, adding filters or manipulation to cover mistakes It’s pure, raw and un-edited. I was a changed man.
Not long after moving to Reno in 2006, I met Jessica “Jester” Levity at the Studio on 4th Street. We discovered in a phone number exchange that both hail from Cincinnati, OH, so clearly our Midwestern/Ohio pride was huge (FYI people from Ohio are very proud and it has nothing to do with our sportsball teams). While I was focused on music, she had founded an improv comedy troupe called The Utility Players. According to Levity “I had a insatiable yearning to see really good improv comedy, and I also dreamed the name “The Utility Players”, and thought, “Holy shit, that would be a great name for a comedy troupe that can do anything.”(fun fact: A ‘utility player’ is a baseball term for someone who can play any position proficiently). We stayed in touch over the years (see: Midwestern/Ohio pride) and seeing each other’s endeavors grow, we had both grown out of the Studio on 4th and in 2011 I found myself at my first Utility Players show at the Pioneer Underground.
Modeled after the 1998-2007 show Whose Line Is It Anyway?, The Utility Players take the crowd through a series of “games” which create scenarios for the comedians to improvise within. What makes this way better than the show is first, it’s live; and second, no network TV censorship (the show is 18+ only) so it has an “anything goes” ethos. After attending easily over fifteen UP’s shows I can promise that anything truly does go.
Much like an improv jazz band or jamband, improv is influenced by the energy of the crowd, the moods of the comedians, the ideas called out from the crowd, or even how recently practiced are the comedians? One thing that’s so magic about improv is the unknown. Will this “show” be incredible or fall flat? When a performer walks on stage with no set-list, skit, or pre-rehearsed bit, the potential is completely unknown. Throw in inviting crowd members up onstage for games, and every show is a wild card. I’ve seen the Utility Player’s build so much energy in a room your hair stands on end, and a few times they’ve even ended a game by saying “ok, that was terrible.” It’s a risk you take to create magic.
After a long tenure at the Pioneer Underground, they were offered an incredible opportunity: their own theater and weekly gig at the Sands Regency. “Jester’s Theater” was created in small conference room upstairs in the Sands (fun fact: the rooms was previously The Funny Bone Comedy Club until 2007). My first thought was “the Utility Players are already great, but when a group like this performs weekly instead of monthly, their improv is going to get even better than before.” While the theater created in the Sands is no Pioneer Underground structurally, it’s more intimate and you can hear the performers better than ever. The cast for this past week: Amanda Alvey, Chris Daniels, Derek Sonderfan, Ian Sorensen, Joe Garton, Shane Tolomeo, Stacy Johnson and Taryn Gomez, along with host Jessica “The Jester” Levity, clearly have benefited from their weekly gigs. It was clear their improv was quicker, sharper and funnier. From “game” to “game” the overall consistency of the show was really strong. The crowd was pretty rowdy but overall respectful and was adding great cues (when asked).
Not only did their weekly gigs tighten their show, but they were invited to the SF Improv Festival this past September. That experience, Levity says “humbled us, it inspired us, it networked us, and, in the words of Derek Sonderfan (our musician): ‘It wasn’t our greatest performance, but it showed that we deserved to be at SFIF.’ They loved our performance, and the team bonding that occurred that weekend is irreplaceable. Most importantly, a bunch of improv junkies got to see a bunch of incredible improv, and it has completely set a new bar for what we want to do as a troupe. Also, the UPs got to witness THE troupe that single-handedly inspired me to create my own troupe when I saw them in Amsterdam — Boom Chicago. They were speechless after the performance.”
There are only two shows left in The Utility Player’s eighth season at the Sands. THIS TROUPE IS FIRING ON ALL CYLINDERS RIGHT NOW. Every Saturday through 12/20 (no show on 12/13). Tickets are available online at www.utilityplayerscomedy.com or the Sands cage. Doors open at 7:30 (get there on time to get best seats). These shows have been selling out so we recommend arriving early and buying presale tickets.Please also like Homeslice Productions and The Utility Players on Facebook.
There is change in the air. Not only are the seasons changing where we live, but I’m witnessing a musical change too. Maybe not so much a change, but I’m witnessing people engaging in a wider range of musical styles. For someone like me, who considers an ideal Sunday to have the doors and windows open, cooking breakfast and playing the Oh Brother! Where Art Thou? soundtrack, I can’t be more happy about it. Most of our social outings involve so much loud music that being able to absorb the emotion of a simple song, a story or just one classical guitarist is the perfect balance to all the heaviness of the rest of the world.
I was hired at Lightning in a Bottle this year to assist with the Grand Artique. On Saturday night, I was charged as stage manager and two of the acts I worked with turned out to be my favorite acts of the weekend: WC Thornbush’s Great American Show and The Wild Reeds. Where WC Thornbush brought a raucous throwback show reminiscent of dust bowl revivals and political rallies, The Wild Reeds blew me away with powerful yet delicate harmonies, emotional and inspiring vocals and really beautiful and personal stage performance. Immediately after their show I asked for a CD to purchase, which the obliged and sold me an advance copy of their then forth-coming album, Blind and Brave.
Buying an album of a band you just heard for the first time is a coin toss. I don’t necessarily want it to sound exactly what I just heard, but what I want is to make me feel similar. Blind and Brave did this for me. Kicking off with “Where I’m Going,” which starts with a stomping declaration:
“You think you know where I’m going, the truth is I haven’t got a clue one thing I know where I’m going, there won’t be another you”
The three part harmonies of Kinsey, Mack and Sharon, backed by drummer and bass player Nick and Jason, build to a floating yet climatic release that drops eventually back down and drops into one of my favorite songs ever recorded, “Let No Grief.” I’ve listened to this song at least 500 times. Not exaggerating here. Instead of describing it, I’ll leave a teaser video below (this version is without drums and bass).
The title track and first single, “Blind and Brave,” follows “Let No Grief” perfectly. They released an incredible video (below) and the production on the album on this track lends to a more successful single in my eyes. It’s a beautiful song, less somber than “Let No Grief,” yet without lacking the emotional power of it’s predecessor.
Other notable tracks on Blind and Brave include the old-timey shuffle of “Love Letter;” “Judgement,” a haunting track which moves like a steam engine in it’s chugging chorus, then dropping into a mellow verses as if slowing down to keep itself from derailing due to speed. “Lock and Key” drops the listener off on the singers beckoning for “courage to carry me across the danger.”
I have no qualms stating my favorite place to imbibe is St James Infirmary. Primarily, it’s the proximity to my home. Second is Georgette Crush and the rest of the awesome bartenders and staff. After that comes the diversity of people, the patio, the drink selection and the fact that the music (and jukebox) is always good. I seem to end up there on jukebox nights for some reason, but every time I’ve walked in on live music or dj nights and it’s always a blast and the acts they book are awesome. Also, as my friend points out, “the guys dance there. And not just because the girls are dancing. That says something.” Good job guys.
Not long ago owner Pete Barnato, who not only was responsible for the music booking at St James but is also frontman of alt-blues-rock band Moondog Matinee, informed me of his plans to commandeer The Biggest Little City Club and turn it into The Loving Cup (for those of you unaware, “Loving Cup” is a Rolling Stones song off their infamous album, Exile To Main Street). Pete has made it clear that his mission is to continue the trend of the California Street corridor being a welcoming place to drink, gather and listen to quality cutting edge music. Seems like St James and The Loving Cup will be a great place to jump back and forth on your weekend nights. Win-win.
If you haven’t had a chance to check out The Loving Cup, Friday should be your night, as Los Angeles’ fusion rockers Magic Bronson are making their debut appearance in Northern Nevada at The Loving Cup. On tour to support their new album “Wildlife,” which Buzzbands.LA says “…rumbles and hums in the secondhand-smoke-filled netherworld of indie-rock, hip-hop and electro-pop.” With that description, you guarantee our presence to check this duo out.
We are really excited for another neighborhood bar and music venue that is catering to an experience and bringing in up-and-coming acts. Barnato and company put a lot of love into this place. We are total suckers for white and black tile, and that’s what’s on the stage. The art, and décor, the bar’s presentation and the furnishings all piece together comfortably and stylishly without being pretentious.
The Magic Bronson show is 100% FREE and kicks off at 9:00pm with an opening set. The Loving Cup will be showing it’s love to the community by creating a photo-contest of the night. Tweet or facebook a picture from the night. Best picture wins $50 bar tab