LulaWorld 2012 Launch



Lula Lounge Toronto

[photo: Rebecca Hennessy and Marcus Ali blow up the Lula.]

The buzz was palpable among the loungers outside the Lula Lounge. The media dog and pony had just ended and as that crew scurried off, the slick dudes and the chickas, gays and hipsters were arriving for an evening of getting down to the new world sounds for which the club is famed.
The double bill was a clever study in percussive contrasts between the organic polyrhythmic tunes of Toronto’s Drumhand and the mutant electronic, sample-heavy constructs from Guelph sextet Eccodek.

Openers Drumhand benefit from great visuals. The brass section features six feet several Marcus Ali on sax, flute and assorted wind and tiny, feisty trumpeter Rebecca Hennessy. When the pair gets to wailing side by side, a body can’t help but smile. Stage right was occupied by master percussionist Steve Mancuso and an array of things that shake, rattle, roll and rasp from a fistful of countries, making it look like the house band for National Geographic was setting up. Then there’s Larry Graves’ hand and foot work on the Gome drum, an oddly compelling visual.
Dealing mostly off current album Moving Still, Drumhand unleashed a tight barrage of intricately constructed dialogues between brass and percussion featuring layers of rhythm and galvanizing sax and trumpet riffs.

The quintet’s rounded out by palm drummer David Chan and through the course of the set, every member took the lead and not a one stepped up short. Drumhand are road warriors and it shows in the effortless technical shifts and daring execution of set highlights “Abacus”, “ In The System”, “The Chant” and the title track.

Dave Chan and Larry Graves keep the beat strong.Dave Chan and Larry Graves keep the beat strong.It wouldn’t be the Lula without the intense dancing and as Drumhand walked through the crowd to the rhythm of their drums, out of the crowd bounded a high stepper who throw down some African high life moves that proved the prefect end to an energizing performance.

The only good thing about the set’s ending is that it gave the attendees a chance to catch their collective breath. This was going to be a tough act to follow so those who hadn’t see Eccodek before were curious as to how they’d go about it.

Clever pros that they are, Eccodek came out offering something different, even for them. Biggest diff is that Eccodek’s music is more electronica led, with two keyboards linked to computers allowing for all manner of samples, loops and instant shifts in time structures.

This particular gig went one step beyond that in dropping something different. Mainman Andrew McPherson announced right off the group would be playing only music from current album Remixtasy, a collection of tunes from the group’s first three albums, but remixed and re-imagined by an international roster of mixmasters, beat makers and top flight producers.

Given that Eccodek’s usual thing is a Canadian/Global fusion involving funk, dub, tribal rhythms and genre-bending electronica, the ‘new’ versions of Eccodek’s material had no problem keeping the dance floor shaking.

Lenny Stoute