MUSIC BOX: SAVOY harvests massive bass

By on September 24, 2014

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Jackson Hole, Wyoming – When a tour is dubbed “Mo Lasers Mo Problems,” its legit to guess that there’s going to be some electronic-induced dance grooves pumping from the speakers. Utilizing a dub-step, synth-triggered sub-bass sound as a foundation while maintaining an earthy, indie-rock edge, electronic trio SAVOY met as students attending C.U. Boulder.

DJs Ben Eberdt and Gray Smith along with endurance drummer Mike Kelly are one of the few EDM (electronic dance music) projects with live, on-the-spot instrumentation to match the digital side. With a heavy quantity of sampling and breaks, their music can be frenetic, mind-blowing and downright overwhelming – a perfect formula if you are a freaker-by-the-speaker type looking to have your head spun.

Aside from trance and other sub-electronica movements, the trio can easily dip into pop, funky French house, German minimal techno, and world music. The maddening eclecticism has brought SAVOY good fortune including an invitation to Jay-Z’s inaugural Made in America Festival earlier this year. Not too bad for a few guys that originally formed as a Boulder-based jamband during college. Now based in Brooklyn, the group has infiltrated shows with a laser spectacular that has drawn numerous comparisons to Daft Punk. The latter veteran EDM band had a major role in SAVOY turning from jamband to electro band.

“We used to play instruments with SAVOY and we kind of realized that it wasn’t a big enough sound to go the places that we wanted to go,” Gray told Less Than Three. “We started listening to more and more EDM and in 2007 saw a few shows that blew our minds like Daft Punk and Justice. After that we knew this was the hot shit. All the sounds and sub-frequencies we couldn’t get with our instruments were there.”

Akin to ODESZA (the electronic duo that played the TGR after-party last week), SAVOY mixes and tweaks sounds via Ableton, yet distinguishes its sound via a drum kit that is half electronic and half acoustic. The electronic side of the kit features snares and other sounds that are programmed into a Roland SPD-S Sampler with trigger pads. They will be playing Big Gigantic at Red Rocks Amphitheatre the evening before the Pink Garter. Be prepared to get lasered!

Multi-Grammy nominated artist, writer and producer Bright Lights (Heather Bright), opens the show.

SAVOY with Bright Lights, 9 p.m. on Saturday at Pink Garter Theatre. $14-$16. PinkGarterTheatre.com. 

These Slippers were made for rocking

Humboldt County, California, rock band Steel Toed Slippers – comprised of early-20s high school buddies Will Nicoll (guitar, vocals) and Matt Moss (drums, vocals) along with bassist Mark Mickens and Chris Norton (of Zappa Plays Zappa) on keys – released its first full length album in 2012 after several years of playing and touring along the West Coast. Early on, they caught the attention of Little Feat bassist Kenny Gradney and drummer Stephen Perkins of Jane’s Addiction, as well as enlisted the help of Grammy award-winning producer Ed Cherney. The band’s new three-track EP, Stolen Words [2014], puts a stamp on the lyrical indie-rock without the unnecessary additives.

“These guys are so hungry and growing every day as musicians,” Gradney said in an interview backstage at The Mint in L.A. in 2012. “Will is amazing, a great frontman and has an understanding of the songs. (The late) Richie (Hayward of Little Feat) is the real reason that I was involved in their project. Richie had worked with Matt, who is just an amazing drummer.”

Steel Toed Slippers, 10 p.m. on Tuesday at The Rose. Free. 733-1500. 

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About Aaron Davis

Aaron Davis is a decade-long writer of Music Box, a singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, member of Screen Door Porch and Boondocks, founder/host of Songwriter’s Alley, and co-founder of The WYOmericana Caravan.

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