Words by Audra Tracy | Photos by Joe Papeo
In New York City, headlining a show at Bowery Ballroom is almost an automatic ‘cool pass’ for musicians. It’s one of the few venues left in Manhattan equipped to host bands on the brink like Black Taxi, a four piece from Brooklyn that’s going places in 2012. Their new dance-punk album We Don’t Know Any Better just dropped this weekend, and to celebrate they hosted a record release party in the big city with Lights Resolve, The Bright Light Social Hour, and The Attic Ends playing in support.
While it was nearly midnight when the headliner took the stage to their sold-out gig, Black Taxi was revved up for a whistle blowing, guitar smashing, body paint-smeared joyride. The set opened up with throwbacks ‘Don’t Count Me Out’ and ‘Pretty Mama’ before the band broke out the fresh stash via ‘Do What You Gotta Do’. The tune had kids cuttin’ rugs and kicked off a slew of new material from the incredible We Don’t Know Any Better.
Part Jim Morrison, part Ninja Warrior, Ezra Huleatt (keys/trumpet/vocals) has all the makings of a full blown sex symbol. On this night he wore only white jeans, high tops, and warpaint, and seemed right at home as he sprinkled glitter over the gaggle of girls lining the front row. Throughout the show, Huleatt’s on-and-off-stage antics found him jumping, gyrating, and at one point even fearlessly dangling from the second story balcony railing before dropping down to rejoin his fans on the dance-floor.
Perhaps less outwardly animated than their cohort, the noise emanating from band-mates Bill Mayo (guitar/vocals), Krisana Sopapong (bass) and Jason Holmes (drums/vocals) was just as attention-grabbing as Huleatt’s tight pants. Actually, the jams were even tighter, especially as the band warmed up and the set sped into high energy songs like ‘Up Here For Thinking, Down There For Dancing’ and ‘Friend’.
Mayo manned the mic on a few songs songs too, leading ‘It’s a Ball’ into what was a definite highlight of Black Taxi’s explosive live chemistry. Each musician appeared to adapt their role on a song by song basis, which is a testament to their ability to musically gel for the sake of the almighty sound.
In our recent interview with Black Taxi, Ezra Huleatt promised that something more was in store for Bowery’s record release bash. And toward the tail end of an already scorching set, a five-piece brass band somehow crammed themselves into the corner of the stage. The new addition gave a sonic boost to the epic instrumental ‘Battle of Yonkers’ and fan favorite ‘Shoeshine’ before Black Taxi sewed it all up with their catchy new single ‘Hand’.
It’s not too late to add another New Year’s resolution to your list, so if you want in on Brooklyn’s best kept secret, make seeing Black Taxi live a priority in 2012.
Don’t Count Me Out
Do What You Gotta Do
Up Here for Thinking, Down There For Dancing
It’s a Ball
Balloons on Barbed Wire
We Don’t Know Any Better
Battle of Yonkers (Bessie, Get Your War Paint On)
Head on a Pike
TheWaster.com | New York City