DJ-inspired raves were all the rage in the mid-90s, and continue to be a popular mix of incredible electronic music and serious dance grooves. The emerging popularity of jambands during that time has led to the inevtible crossover of the two genres, beginning with such pioneers as the Disco Biscuits.
Today a flux of excellent live electronica, or "jamtronica" groups has forcefully saturated the scene. Powerful groups like Lotus, The Pnuma Trio, Ozric Tentacles, and The New Deal have invigorated this style of music and gained national fame. Another talented collective, BoomBox, has emerged from the South blending elements of house, break beat, and raging guitar.
The group consists of only two members, DJ Russ Randolph and singer-guitarist Zion Rock Godchaux. Fans of the Grateful Dead may recognize the latter name, as he is the offspring of former members Keith and Donna Jean Godchaux. Together they bring a live music experience that begs the listening to shut up and dance.
Their current tour has trampled through venues in the South, Midwest, and the Rockies. Recently the duo stopped by Cervantes Ballroom in Denver, CO on their way to prove that they can throw down as well as anyone else; and they did just that.
For a group that does not carry much for mainstream name recognition, they sure had a dedicated following that showed up to support the effort. The line wrapping around the box office outside was buzzing with anticipation, which probably bolstered the energy that would eventually spill into the venue.
The boys took to the stage around 11:45, a seemingly normal start time for any electronica artists. Randolph sported the sporty-sweatsuit look while Godchaux looked more the carnival type with a tall fedora hat and feather boa dangling from his neck. Flanked by three different live performance painters, one on stage and two just off each side, the band began to shake the house while brushes captured the aura on canvas. Bright, LED light bars in the background provided extra visuals that stimulated the senses and gave the experience a nice, rock-show feel.
For three straight hours BoomBox laid down breaks, trip-hop beats, and psychedelic guitar riffs. Though many of their song styles did not change much, it was still attention-grabbing and there was not a still body in the packed house. Cool dudes and hot ladies shook their hips and grooved until 3:00am.
Even though the flow didn't change much, and Godchaux's voice at times sounded a bit like Jack White, the fatty beats and sharp guitar work made this show an experience in live electronic music. BoomBox sound like they are on their way, and will sure be bringing their unique performance near you soon. Tune in and turn it up!