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The New Riddim

Album review: The New Riddim - Second Sight

Whether you’re an enthusiast of reggae, soul, ska, or simply any music that inspires dancing, The New Riddim’s album Second Sight is sure to keep you moving. Throughout the album, the soulful lyrics and voice of Dan Loftus will take you on a hip-swaying journey from high-tempo Caribbean melodies to slower island sounds. While certain songs might lead you to think you are beachside in Jamaica, others seem fit for a jazz club nestled in an old New Orleans neighborhood (a setting even mentioned in “Shoot the Piano Player”). However, most of the tracks in this album are purely an amazing combination of these energies.
Loftus’ romantic vocals, organ, and piano playing overlay the boisterous instrumentals of the rest of the band beautifully. The eight-person band consists of Loftus, Kian Byrne on bass (and vocals for “While I Wish”), Marshall Tinnermeier on saxophone, Nick Howell on trumpet, Mike Walker on trombone, Conor Loftus on guitar, Rico Pierce on drums, and Chas Snyder on drums. Each member has truly mastered his respective domain to form this ensemble of diverse sounds and they are most definitely a “new riddim.”
This Kansas City band has been producing sweet, soulful jams since they came together in 2005. Although Second Sight was released in February of this year, it wasn’t until mid-October that the album was available on a 12” vinyl, which really is the perfect medium for their sound. The vinyl also includes an additional track called “What Can I Dub?” by Agent Jay of The Slackers, an incredible artist known for his contributions to the ska, reggae, and rock genres. Be sure to grab The New Riddim’s vinyl from Mad Butcher Records and don’t miss the chance to catch one of their high-energy performances!
--Lindsey Alexander
Lindsey is a writer who loves live shows, Reddit, and really good tacos.

Celebrate your holiday hangover with The New Riddim this Saturday at The Brick, where they will be joined by The Grisly Hand. Show starts at 10 pm. Facebook event page. 

Folk Alliance International Conference comes to Kansas City

The Folk Alliance International has moved its annual conference to Kansas City, and it kicks off this Wednesday, February 19 with a full list of local bands and solo performers. The conference will be held at the Westin Crown Center Hotel.
On Wednesday, nine showcases will take place from 8:00 p.m. to midnight, including bands like The Grisly Hand, Jorge Arana Trio, Trampled Under Foot, and The New Riddim.
The conference runs through Sunday. It will feature bands and performers from around the world, with official and private showcases throughout the hotel. Graham Nash and Al Gore will be speaking at the event. Music workshops, jam sessions, and films will also be featured.

Tickets are $25 per night. Other information can be found at www.folk.org. 

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Show review: Deal's Gone Bad and The New Riddim at Davey's, 6.22.12

(Pictured above: The New Riddim)

Ska made a welcome comeback at Davey’s Friday night.

From the looks of the almost-packed house, you’d have thought it never went away. Unfortunately, I missed openers The Uncouth, but arrived just as Kansas City ska group The New Riddim took the stage. The band was promoting the release of its debut CD, Kidnapped, and the mood was celebratory. The band tore through its rocksteady set with a well-rehearsed yet loose vibe. The New Riddim doesn’t play the ska-punk of the ’90s (Less Than Jake, Reel Big Fish), but rather an older, more soulful, less frantic style that owes as much to Jamaica as it does the Motown era of the late ’60s. Caribbean rhythms meet multipart harmonies in The New Riddim’s crossover tribute to this oft-misunderstood genre. Fans of The Slackers and Hepcat would enjoy a set by this homegrown outfit.

The band attacked the crowd with selections from its new CD and was careful to pepper in slower, more reggae-sounding numbers with upbeat tracks. Though boasting multiple vocalists—the horn players give lead singer/organist Daniel Loftus a break now and then—the band broke up the set with the occasional instrumental jam.

A couple selections seemed to get overly complicated, but you could tell the act enjoys pushing the limits of a style that seems deceptively simple. And those in the crowd, many of whom were there to support their friends onstage, didn’t seem to mind. They danced (a few even skanked!) to the bitter end and cried for more, but The New Riddim knows to quit while it’s ahead. I was impressed that the band didn’t go for one more; the temptation to do so must have been intense. Well done, fellas! They set up the house perfectly for headliners Deal’s Gone Bad.

This Chicago act’s annual shows at Davey’s are always a dance party, and this was no exception. I was impressed that most in the crowd made their way back in as soon as the band hit the stage. Similar to The New Riddim, Deal’s Gone Bad takes its cues from classic Jamaican ska via Motown, but the group takes the “stax of wax” idea to a whole new level. Rather than vamping on instrumental ska jams, Deal’s Gone Bad sticks to a 7-inch ethos. Its songs are road tested and efficient. You get a helluva bang from each tune, and usually in about three minutes. We barely had time to catch our breath as the band blasted through its set.

Deal’s Gone Bad’s last full length was 2007’s The Ramblers, but it hasn’t tired of playing fan favorites from that LP. The crowd sang along, and sometimes failed miserably, which resulted in a hilarious scolding from lead vocalist Todd Hembrook. The highlight of the set was the rocksteady take on Otis Redding’s “These Arms of Mine” from last year’s vinyl single. The group’s homage plays genuine rather than clever, and ripped the hearts out of the crowd, which hung on Hembrook’s every shredded word.

The band finished its set, then returned for a short three-song encore and said good night to the sweaty, dance-weary revelers. The audience probably could have gone on, but like The New Riddim, Deal’s Gone Bad is a group of professionals. Always leave ’em wanting more.

--Steven M. Garcia

Steven is guitarist and vocalist for Kansas City power pop trio Deco Auto. He also makes a deliciously angry salsa.



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