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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Producer's Note: Wishes and Thieves & Margot B at BAMcafé Live

by Darrell McNeill

BAMcafé Live Week One: We started off with performances by Olga Bell (Dirty Projectors) and Heliotropes and the takeaway, for me, were two nights brimming with musical possibilities. Olga Bell, the veteran, musically shape-shifted in real time during her solo performance, using loops and synths to bend pop traditions at her bidding—giving a glimpse to the directions music can go free of constraints and clichés. Heliotropes, the newcomers, had all the freshness and exuberance of a young band starting up, beating the music down kinks and all, and taking it on as a united front—like your favorite rock/punk bands taking in the excitement of the uncharted road ahead.

In contrast, Week Two features two straightforward musical presentations from the worlds of pop/rock and R&B/soul, respectively. Wishes and Thieves, a smart quartet that employs modern electronic sounds married with live accompaniment, will be showcased Friday, September 27. Singer/actress Margot B is featured Saturday, September 28, working a fluid contemporary soul-jazz flow.

A notable aspect to Wishes and Thieves is their accessibility within the electronic/live fusion genre, leaning more towards the Massive Attack side of the equation than the Portishead side. There are actual songs here, not simply mood tapestries. The music is layered but not dense, heavy but not stagnant—there’s fluidity and movement, highlighted by the soaring vocals of Jolanda Porter.

Margot B is contemporary R&B by the numbers, a rich, syrupy alto poured over crisp, funky beats and stout chord progressions, without veering into smooth jazz cheese. Margot’s formidable and complete skill set—singer/songwriter/actor/model—recently landed her a role as “Daughter Maitland,” the featured club singer on the award-winning HBO series “Boardwalk Empire.”

So we’re on to round two in this journey through Brooklyn’s best and brightest musical performers—we hope to see you here.

Darrell McNeill is the Associate Producer of Music Programming at BAM.

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