IF YOU GO
• What: Black Taxi and Moon Taxi
• When: 9:30 p.m. today, Sept. 5.
• Where: Rhythm & Brews, 221 Market St.
• Admission: $10
• Phone: 423-267-4644
• Website: www.rhythm-brews.com
“We Don’t Know Any Better”
“Things of That Nature”
“Mobius Strip” (EP)
About six years ago, members of Black Taxi burst onto Brooklyn's music scene with a frenetic stage presence that quickly made them one of the area's most talked about acts. But the seeds of the band's formation took root on a Thai island more than 8,000 miles away.
There, during a "full moon rave," the band's future lead singer, Ezra Huleatt, met bass player Krisana Soponpong, who was bunked up in a neighboring bungalow.
Both men were freshly departed from their bands, and despite their disparate backgrounds -- Soponpong was an '80s synth fanatic; Huleatt was a jazz trumpeter and singer/songwriter -- they began collaborating a few months after they got back to New York.
Presumably to add even more diverse flavors to the musical mix, they folded in guitarist Bill Mayo and drummer Jason Holmes, who came from the worlds of R&B/hip-hop and jazz/musical theater, respectively.
Then, somehow, they began layering those textures into an infuriatingly infectious, catchy blend with hints of everything from Daft Punk and '80s synth pop to The Clash and Cake. Some have called it "grit-pop." Others "dance punk." For his part, Huleatt says, the sound they make is just the only blend that made sense, given their shared influences.
"Our project ended up coming around to the tastes we all agreed upon," Huleatt says. "Rock 'n' roll, indie and electro are in there -- with new flavor -- but also some real love for old-school acts."
Tonight, Black Taxi will pull up at Rhythm & Brews alongside another cabbie band, Nashville-based Moon Taxi, for a double bill for a single fare.
The show should be a memorable one, assuming the band lives up to its legacy as one of New York's most energetic live groups. That distinction has been in full view during the group's numerous broadcast appearances on programs such as G4TV's "Attack of the Show," MTV's "Teen Wolf" and PBS' "Road Trip Nation."
Their show tonight will come on the eve of the release of "Chiaroscuro," a six-song EP that will officially be released Tuesday, Sept. 10. The band nurtured that project to life during a songwriting retreat to a ranch on a game preserve about 20 minutes outside of Austin.
Because the songs are new, they are, by default, among the group's current favorite set list selections, but more than that, they serve as a reminder of a time and place that was a welcome change of pace from the urban crunch of their home turf.
"They're definitely different; there's definitely more space in them," Huleatt says. "They remind me of that time period, and that was a very inspirational time for me."
Contact Casey Phillips at email@example.com or 423-757-6205. Follow him on Twitter at @Phillips CTFP.
Casey Phillips has worked as a features reporter in the Life department since May 2007. He writes about entertainment, consumer technology, animals and news of the weird. Casey hails from Knoxville and earned a bachelor of science degree in journalism and a bachelor of arts in German from Middle Tennessee State University, where he worked as the features editor for the student newspaper, Sidelines. Casey's writing has earned numerous accolades, including first and second place ...