One band from Leeds, England and the other from Los Angeles.
Meeting in Buffalo last Wednesday, Orgone and The New Mastersounds packed The Tralf for a soulful throwback with a good helping of funk thrown in for good measure. With one making the far trip east across the U.S. and the other coming west across the pond, Buffalo was treated to a perfect pairing of solid musicianship all on one stage.
Orgone kicked things off, and while they may have opened the show, this is FAR from your typical opening act. The band came onstage Wednesday night and laid it right out for the Queen City, jumping into a tight melody that rode along the rhythm and combined to pull at people’s feet and sway their hips. The band blends funk and soul in a very classic, yet powerful way, emitting a surplus of energy that immediately powered the crowd. The Wednesday night audience was sparse at the release of the first note, but had the floor covered by the time the song wrapped up.
Singer Adryon De Leon joined the band onstage after the start, gracefully stepping up to deliver her powerful voice. She didn’t let the crowd have it right out of the gate, opting to ease in with a soulful, yet jazzy hook. Her full capabilities were quickly realized by the city’s funky fans. The diva commanded the stage with her presence and elevated the already incredible musicians who backed her.
The band was able to walk around the venue before the show started without many noticing, but that is sure to change after the performance they put on. The sitters were soon standers and standers quickly became dancers. Their sound was the catalyst to a shift in energy in the room. Other music websites must not have caught an Orgone show yet, because this band is without a doubt worthy of a mention when talking about the Top 10 Current Funk Acts if you’ve seen them live.
The enthusiastic crowd that filled the place on Wednesday let the band know how they were feeling during any lull in the action, screaming and encouraging the band to keep it up. Orgone’s throwback sound was refreshing and deeply intoxicating. The way the instruments played off of De Leon’s voice left many with eyes closed, fully embracing the sound. In retrospect, the West Coasters damn near stole the show.
De Leon sat out for a few songs, allowing the rest of the talented group to share in some of the spotlight. All around, this is a special mix of people, from guitarist Sergio Rios to percussionist Chuck Prada who ripped a solo all his own earlier in the night. As De Leon stepped back out though, her quickly developed fan group cheered her back on. Her multifaceted approach was showcased through her ability to groove through low-end melodies and belt out highs that sent the crowd reeling.
Before finishing their set, guitarist Sergio Rios said, “That’s what it feels like to love.” Surely it was a setup though as the blistering solo he saved for the final song completely blindsided the crowd. He just let us have it, throwing everything he had through the six strings of his guitar. With how powerful of a set overall, and especially in closing, this band put on, it wouldn’t surprise me if Orgone packed the same room on their own next time they come back.
The New Mastersounds were up next and did not have an easy act to follow. Guitarist Eddie Roberts’ suave and dapper attitude was quickly exuded though as he setup, letting everyone know that they were up for the challenge.
Kicking the night off, the band immediately showed the crowd their stripped down and organic approach, while simultaneously filling the room and proving the old adage of “less is more” to be true. With little to no introduction, the band went from the first song into “Dusty Groove”, leaving only a rhythmic reset in-between. This may have been the first date of their U.S. tour, and also the first time they had played together in over two months, but the crowd would have been oblivious if the band hadn’t told them. The four-piece from across the pond settled in rather quickly with no visible rust.
Drummer Simon Allen and bassist Pete Shand were tightly synced from the start, becoming even more intertwined as the show wore on. Their direction provided a moving treadmill that the other two members had to jump on with their melodies. While the lengthy break might be a detriment to some bands, The New Mastersounds seemed to be actually using the reunion to their advantage with an excitement you could feel through their music.
In true testament to how rhythmically tight this band is, Eddie Roberts played a tambourine with his foot as he started the opening line of “Morning Fly” through his ’65 Gibson hollow body guitar. As Eddie ripped through jazz scales, Simon built the beat while the remaining members would join for support. The undeniable swell captivated the whole room and pushed everyone to dance harder into the night. It was as though the band just picked up their musical conversation right where they left off. And just like a renewed friendship has those exciting moments, so too did this night with the entire band sharing smiles with the crowd when they would particularly nail a segment.
As individuals and collectively as a band, their simplistic approach utilized spacing as tension that fought an incessant rhythm. By laying back, the band drew your ear in and allowed the music to breath before taking off again. As they launched into the opening track “Old Man Noises” from their latest album Therapy, the band brought an unmatched ferocity to whatever song they damn well chose. Organist Joe Tatton threw his heavy Hammond overtones out into space while Eddie took that same foot he used for the tambourine and turned it loose on his wah pedal, creating a tremelo effect on an incredible rendition of that song’s solo.
Many people were caught deeply entrenched in the music throughout the night. The positive and soul-quenching material was absorbed by everyone who happened to venture out and written across their faces even after it came to a close. It may have been a trip for both bands, but the crowd was thankful for the night of music and everything the bands put forth on stage. As for the battle of who had the better set, well, it would be a tie in this writer’s eyes, but you can decide for yourself…
Thanks to our friends at WNYmedia Network, we have audio of both band’s full sets:
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All Photos by Thomas Sgroi