Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The Sway Machinery at University Settlement

What do you get when you take bluesman and Balkan Beat Box guitarist Jeremiah Lockwood, add the Yeah Yeah Yeah's drummer Brian Chase, two horn players from Antibalas, Stuart Bogie and Jordan McLean, and bass saxophonist Colin Stetson of Arcade Fire and Tom Waits' band? The funkiest bar mitzvah band on the planet, The Sway Machinery. I first heard about the Sway Machinery from Stuart Bogie six months ago while interviewing him for an article about Antibalas and had been eagerly anticipating see the band in concert ever since. I checked them out Wednesday night at University Settlement on the Lower East Side. They totally blew away my extremely high expectations.

The Sway Machinery is a project inspired by Jeremeiah Lockwood's grandfather, the legendary Cantor Jacob Konigsberg, who exposed Jeremiah to Jewish Cantor music at a young age. Lockwood sings in Hebrew perfecting the other-worldly sound the musical arrangement creates. The Sway Machinery is definitely like nothing you'll see or hear anywhere else. They have a harsh, powerful sound anchored by the bass saxophone and enhanced by the rest of the horn section. Their set exhibited great range going from slow, deep, dark, and mysterious to fast funky, happy, and danceable.

The Sway Machinery are playing several upcoming shows this summer: June 8th at 92YTribeca and July 20th at Celebrate Brooklyn in Prospect Park If you like music that pushes the envelope hard, go check them out. With the amazing roster of talented musicians on stage, there's no doubt it will be an amazing show.

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