BadBadNotGood Brings Lush Vibes to the Gothic

Photo: Nicole Elizabeth


Photo: Nicole Elizabeth

Lush sophistication are words that come to mind when thinking of the ways sounds and instruments effortlessly unite to create an aura of artistic personality and mastery. The guys from BadBadNotGood came together on Jan. 13, 2017 at the Gothic Theatre to flaunt what it means to create an immersive experience.

After being included in the music festival circuit last year, with notable spots in large productions like Coachella and Lollapalooza, the now-quartet gave Denver a visit to only be welcomed by the closest of BadBadNotGood fans.

Although jazz legends like Charlie Parker and John Coltane are no longer here, the boys of BadBadNotGood contend that jazz has evolved into something new and refreshing; modern, sleek, and cool.

On drums, Alexander Sowinski pumped up the masses with rhythmic and borderline chaotic beats while somehow tying it all together. Deemed the natural ringmaster of the show, he controlled the tempo and speed of the rest of the group. Alongside him, nothing seemed more mystical than seeing Leland Witty flailing his saxophone to control the movements of the audience. The crowd roared as he bobbed from side to side, emitting a powerful sentiment of musical fandom. While the drums and saxophone might have been the showstoppers of the night, their performance couldn’t have happened without the musical inklings of Matthew Tavares on keys and Chester Hansen on bass.

The 90-minute set felt short and sweet, fully engaging people in the sounds of chic and charming melodies.

Who knew the flute would come back in a live performance? The long cylindrical underdog of many musical concoctions might have been retired in the minds of many to be in a symphonic orchestra, and BadBadNotGood has audiences stop thinking that way. The flute, harmoniously synthesized the sounds of the electronic, woodwind and percussive elements together.

One of the bands biggest hits from their last album IV, released earlier last summer, shocked their fans by bringing sophistication in a track that audiences wouldn’t have expected. “And, That Too” brought sexy without the raunchy. With the incorporation of a delicate and smooth saxophone sound and the sloping of the flute, the sound wafted between the ears stiring careful slurs between the notes. While starting off mysterious and reserved, it quickly turned into a wild rollercoaster—a arollercoaster worth riding.

Among their jazzy tracks came the crystal-clear rendition of classiness known as “Cashmere.” Since the Gothic Theatre can at times appear to be dingy and worn out, the guys from BadBadNotGood gave the theater a new light with their tingly and elevated piano licks. The crowd bobbed their heads in appreciation as other released their hands into the air, figuratively touching the sound waves above them, as if they have been listening to this band for ages.

That’s the importance of musical performance. Some shows resort to fancy lights and showmanship but for BadBadNotGood the music was enough to control the mind. Enough to make the audience remember what jazz was all about. Easy but not sleazy.

No one can argue that BadBadNotGood will be on the radar for many, everyone now wants in on the sheer jazz sophistication.

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