Live Session: Offkey Lifestyle – “Rhythm and Blues”
Posted: by The Editor
Bob Ross once said that “There are no mistakes, just happy accidents,” and that is certainly the case for the members of the 6-piece fusion group, Offkey Lifestyle. Three years ago, percussionist Evelyn Da Costa connected the pieces of a jam band while spending time in a music club at Union County College. After grooving together for a few months, the jam band unexpectedly grew into a tribe of musicians inspired by the experimentation and vibrancy of R&B, reggae, hip-hop, and jazz.
The Meatlocker, the staple DIY venue of Montclair, NJ, was the first space where the band showcased their music and, as Da Costa described, inspired them to “hurry up and be a band.” However, the haste at which the group came together seems to only be a result of how fluidly the music has manifested itself.
On “Rhythm & Blues,” a track that came into being thanks to jamming over a Caribbean beat as a joke, bassist Max Bakie keeps a twangy bass line as Ian MacDonald’s bright guitar chops glue together the space in between Da Costa’s conga strikes. The steel drum tone, provided by Stephen Poos’ keys, arpeggiate and flutter throughout, fastening a tight bow on the entire instrumental package. As if the tribe’s completely infectious rhythms weren’t already making waves through this song, add the flavorful vernacular of rapper and vocalist, PJ Allen, and the pungent vocal harmonies sustained by MacDonald and Da Costa to the mix, and suddenly you’ll find yourself transfixed on an entirely danceable expression of soul.
“You have a tendency to drift when you perform, but playing at AGL Sounds was entirely immersive,” MacDonald mentioned; and it shows. The comfortability and zest conveyed in the performance affects the crowd with its idiomatic afro-beat pulse and suddenly everyone in the room knows how to move. All of the songs on their live-tracked first release, “A Wind so Strong,” will absolutely make your head bop along with the Offkey flow, a vibe that is sure to persist on their upcoming full-length. “Our tribe is like a river,” Da Costa said smiling, “I think our sound gives us an edge.” In a local scene primarily fueled by punk rock music, Offkey Lifestyle sets themselves apart from other bands, firmly rooted in a sound of their own.
Post edited by Christopher / @ChrisMustard
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