Home » Events » Con Brio + Waterstrider: A Liftoff to Love | The Independent

Con Brio + Waterstrider: A Liftoff to Love | The Independent

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Date(s) - 02/12/2016
8:00 PM - 10:00 PM



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Con Brio is a living, evolving testament to the power of soul. Propelled by the young phenom Ziek McCarter – a charismatic, undeniably gifted showman – Con Brio’s sound draws a clear lineage from the dance-heavy funk legacies of legends like Sly & the Family Stone and James Brown, while keeping one eye on R&B trailblazers like D’Angelo and Prince and the other on a psychedelic future.
Based in San Francisco and named after a musical direction meaning “with spirit”, Con Brio has a relentless drive for experimentation, for pushing their high technical ability higher, for reaching beyond the familiar. The resulting dynamic fuses pulsating rhythms, blazing guitar-work, soaring horns, the warm peal of a Hammond organ, and the unforgettable stage presence of an inspired vocalist: altogether it’s one hell of a party.

Thanks to a legion of dedicated fans (who reliably show up to tear the house down at every available opportunity), the band has shared stages with artists such as Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, Fishbone, Meshell Ndegeocello, and Trombone Shorty. The release of their Kiss The Sun EP in early 2015 marks the beginning of Con Brio’s North American touring and ambitious performance and release schedule.

In 2013, the longstanding rhythm section of keyboardist Micah Dubreuil, bassist Jonathan Kirchner and drummer Andrew Laubacher joined forces with incomparable guitar slinger Benjamin Andrews and McCarter: a Texas transplant who as a 19-year-old had already begun drawing crowds in his new hometown. Add in the fireworks of the “Hallelujah Horn Section” (Marcus Stephens & Brendan Liu) and you have the skill and confidence that comes from years of stage time and deeply-established musical partnerships with the thirst and energy of a rising star – a bright light who’s just getting started.

Waterstrider, a six-piece band from Oakland, California, is at its core a spectacular tightrope act. On the group’s debut LP, Nowhere Now, they embrace a wide range of styles and sounds, from arena-sized choruses to mesmerizing string arrangements; all the while balancing them with precision and elegance.

Although opening track “White Light” has one foot planted in the Afro-pop foundation of the group’s Constellation EP, it also points the way forward, shining a light on the kaleidoscope of ideas to come: Zeppelin-sized riffs, shimmering hooks and, at the album’s heart, Nate Salman’s falsetto; tracing nuanced melodies as if drawing with a fine-point pen. It’s Salman’s voice that unifies Nowhere Now’s ten songs. On “Redwood” his delicate falsetto provides a counterpoint to the thundering toms, while “Passing Ships” finds him effortlessly riding a slinky RnB groove. On the album’s culminating title track, he takes the group to soaring heights with his defining statement: “In the hurricane of love and hate, I still remain.” Exploring a range of emotions that leaps between blunt fear and visceral joy, Salman’s falsetto is the perfect glue for a band with such a wide-ranging sound

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