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The Herbaliser at The Great Hall – Toronto Review

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The Herbaliser at The Great Hall – Toronto Review

The Herbaliser at The Great Hall

Who: The Herbaliser— TD Toronto Jazz Festival
From: London, England
Where: The Great Hall, Toronto, ON
When: June 27, 2013 — 10:00pm

TOTAL SCORE: 8.4/10
[starreviewmulti id=3 tpl=20]

 

Style: Hip hop, jazz, rare groove and funk rolled into one tasty, genre-bending, brass-backed package.

Personnel: 
An incredible brass section joined founding members–bassist Jake Wherry and DJ Ollie Teeba–on stage at the Great Hall. Additionally, the rotating roster of rappers that traditionally join The Herbaliser onstage this time consisted of juno-nominated Haligonian, Ghettosocks, and Swedish rapper and reggae artist, Timbuktu.

Crowd: The Great Hall was far from packed, which is unfortunate, as these Brits don’t bounce over to this side of the pond all that often. But by a few songs in, the dance floor filled up and what the crowd lacked in numbers it made up for in enthusiasm. The energy in the room was palpable and no one could resist moving to the seductive beat.  The audience was a great combination of old and young from too many backgrounds to mention and everyone was grooving as The Herbaliser effortlessly moved from funk to reggae to ska in their signature trip-hop style.

Technicalities: The set encountered some sound issues off the top, which were more or less resolved by the third song in.

Sex Sax Appeal: James Morton’s alto sax stole the show, and he had some pretty wicked dance moved to boot. But the band weren’t the only ones getting down. The sexy combo of rap and jazz had audience members moving from the first horn bursts to the last notes of the set.

Memorable moment: After wrapping up their set once, the band came back out for a four song encore with even more verve than the first time ‘round, which really got the crowd going.

Mentionable song: It was one great song after another, but I have to mention two in particular–“Welcome to Extravagance”, which showcased the brass section beautifully and (totally subjectively) is just too good a tune not to dance to. Second was an instrumental rendition of “Sensual Woman”. While I half expected the song to fall flat without its sexy vocal track, it still managed to turn up the heat.

Review: Jes Ellacott
Photos: Jason Hodgins
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THE SCENE


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