The New Deal are typically affiliated with and often found in the jamband circuit of festivals. However they are less like Phish or Psychedelic Breakfast or MMW. Amongst their brethren one would include, The Disco Biscuits, Lotus and Sound Tribe Sector 9. All these bands specialize in the field of “livetronica” with the New Deal creating “progressive breakbeat house”. Their tour stop in Philadelphia brought with them openers Eclectic Method and Quannum/Solesides rapper Lyrics Born. Unfortunately, The Electric Factory was only operating at about half its capacity on the evening, with the upper balcony and 21+ section of the folder were curtained off for the all-ages show.
The DJs of Eclectic Method cut and mashed up recognizable radio songs into an interesting mix and incorporated a video display connecting the music videos with their reworkings. Though interesting and perhaps not far from what Girl Talk does, the crowd was thin for them and they wrapped up with Feist’s “1,2,3,4”. Lyrics Born, backed by Joyo Velarde and DJ Ice Water, promoted his forthcoming album a bit within his indie hip-hop set. I prefer his old school style to what most of the mainstream rappers are putting out. But unfortunately for Lyrics, the sound quality seemed underwhelming at times. And though I may be mistaken, I thought he called out for J5 rapper Chali 2na, but no one appeared.
The New Deal, a three piece outfit from Canada featuring Jamie Shields on keyboards, Dan Kurtz on bass and percussionist Darren Shearer, took the stage around 11:15. Though all three were situated somewhat back from the stagefront, Shearer played frontman from behind his drums. As I havn’t followed their output much in the last five years, partly due to the band’s hiatus at one point, I was unable to recognize a lot of the songs. And though a taper had his rig up near the soundboard, he has failed to post anything to Live Archive (if that was his intention). Hey someone has to take the blame.
But without knowing their songs, my rationale in seeing the New Deal is simply to experience the musical bending of rock and electronic elements into a unyielding experience. At many points the crowd was flailing away to the dance energy. At others, they drifted amongst spacey atmospheric creations as the trio harmoniously fused their instruments, and recuperated for the next bounce session. Shearer’s deft hands allowed him to switch hands holding the microphone to continue beat-boxing and drumming at the same time. Kurtz’s masterful bass and Sheilds’ nimble creation of synth squiggles are equally essential elements of the band.
Of what I did recognize (and can name), The New Deal opened their second set ferociously with an extended version of “Moonscraper”. Their finale included the fast paced raucous jam “VL Tone” with its kinetic energy imbuing and reemerging within the crowd. It was a great way to send fans off; The New Deal’s energy leaves many addicted for more.