B and The Hive bring the honey to The Mint

B and The HiveBy Gina Lopez //

B and The Hive //
The Mint – Los Angeles
June 14th, 2017 //

Dreamy. Steamy. Sultry.

B and The Hive brought the honey to The Mint last Wednesday during the third stop of their Visions album release tour. The San Luis Obispo-based band delivered its fresh sound at the historic LA venue, drawing fans into visions of something real, something fierce.

I had a chance to hang with the band before the show. Frontwoman Brianna Lee, bassist Josh Barrett and drummer Hayden Gardener are the kind people who form a band that’s as real as the stories they tell in their lyrics. After soundcheck, I joined them at the vegan café that was a few doors down from The Mint. Sipping on locally-brewed kombucha outside as the sun set overhead, Lee consulted with Barrett and Gardener as they assembled the setlist, taking into consideration the vibe of the crowd. (They must have some good intuition because everyone at The Mint was captivated during their entire set.)

Just like The Mint and the Green Table Cafe blended together along Pico Blvd. to create some eclectic and inviting environs, B and The Hive have shown an appreciation for America’s rich musical past as they develop their style for a new flavor that’s simultaneously sweet and raw, unfiltered and organic. The band, which began its musical odyssey in the Bay Area as Girls + Boys in 2011, has a natural chemistry that’s electric — much like Lee’s Jimi Hendrix-inspired guitar riffs — allowing fans to jump right in whether they’re familiar or not.

B and The Hive

This was the third time B and The Hive were performing at The Mint, which has been a local fixture since 1937 and has seen performances by everyone from Nat King Cole to Macy Gray, from Stevie Wonder to The Wallflowers. A rhythmical mural of Beat Generation poet Charles Bukowski and a startling quote of his that provokes passersbys to contemplation decks the otherwise unassuming, black façade of the venerable club.

We continued to walk down Pico with its vibrantly colored storefronts as the band shared stories of life on the road — about relying on the generosity of others and the relationships they’ve fostered with other independent artists over the years. B and The Hive are all about supporting and collaborating with these folks, particularly at smaller venues like The Mint that value and support the local music scene, so they were sure to reach out to their fellow musicians who were also performing at The Mint on this night to exchange business cards.

Black leather booths and crystal chandeliers with flickering flame bulbs created an intimate atmosphere for B and The Hive’s performance, which featured songs from Visions and their upcoming covers EP. Visions is an invigorating album, with evocative vocals and guitar from Lee. The LP’s relatable lyrics and musical depth draws from the nectar of a rich musical past to create a new and timeless vision, and you can hear more from B and The Hive with shows booked across the greater LA area for the rest of the month in support of Visions.

PHOTOS: Eliot Lipp at The Mint 7/23

Eliot LippBy Josh Herwitt //

Eliot Lipp //
The Mint – Los Angeles
July 23rd, 2014 //

The Mint in LA’s Carthay Square neighborhood has long been a home for underground blues, jazz, funk and jam bands, but it’s also becoming a space for up-and-coming electronic artists, particularly those signed to Pretty Lights Music, of late.

Back in March, Brooklyn-based electro/hip-hop/bass duo Break Science wrapped up its Seven Bridges tour at the diminutive club (read our show review here), pleasing the small, but vibrant crowd that came ready to dance.

Then, on Wednesday night, another PLM act by way of New York stopped by The Mint, as Eliot Lipp stepped on stage and laid down a number of grooves spanning from hip-hop to techno to jazz fusion.

Josh Herwitt was there to capture Lipp’s 90-minute set, highlighted by a couple of tracks off his 2012 album Shark Wolf Rabbit Snake.

WIN TICKETS: Eliot Lipp at The Mint 7/23 (WED)

Eliot Lipp

Enter to win a pair of free tickets to this show below.

Eliot Lipp with The Dead Men and Kaw //
The Mint – Los Angeles
July 23rd, 2014 (Wednesday) //

Brooklyn-based producer Eliot Lipp has been hypnotizing dance floors across the globe for more than 10 years with his unique brand of electro funk, combining elements of hip-hop, jazz and techno all into one larger-than-life sound. Hailing originally from Tacoma, Wash., Lipp isn’t afraid to take risks when it comes to crafting never-been-heard-before beats and breaks — and it’s certainly paid big dividends for him. Last year, he was named one of Vibe magazine’s “Top 10 Fast-Rising DJs of Summer 2013” while earning praise from a host of other major music outlets. The analogue synthesizer enthusiast has released seven full-length albums to date, including 2012’s Shark Wolf Rabbit Snake on Pretty Lights Music. Playing his first LA show in more than two years, Lipp makes his debut at The Mint with support from The Dead Men and Kaw. -Josh Herwitt

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Submit your full name and email address below.
Contest ends Tuesday, July 22nd at 5 p.m. PT. Winners will be picked at random & notified by email. Your email will be kept private — we will share your email with no one. 21+ only.

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Break Science wrap up ‘Seven Bridges’ tour in LA

Break_Science_postBy Josh Herwitt //

Break Science //
The Mint – Los Angeles
March 22nd, 2014 //

It was one of the strangest scenes I’ve witnessed since I started covering music in Los Angeles.

In all the shows I’ve attended at The Mint over the last three years, never had I seen the diminutive jazz club transform into a borderline nightclub.

That’s not to say attendees at The Mint — with just about every side project in the jam and funk realms coming through its doors year after year — don’t know how to groove, but this was a different situation.

Because with Break Science closing out its Seven Bridges tour last weekend in LA, electronic music fans arrived at The Mint ready to stomp, shake and sweat.

And sweat they most certainly did.

For almost two hours on Saturday night (technically Sunday morning), the Brooklyn-based duo made up of drummer/producer Adam Deitch and keyboardist/producer Borahm Lee dropped one banger after another, igniting a full-on dance party just minutes within stepping on stage.

Break_Science

While the late-night show marked the first time Break Science fans in Southern California were able to hear the band perform tracks from its full-length debut Seven Bridges since the album’s early October release, Deitch and Lee also didn’t hold back when it came to showcasing their entire catalog. From Further Than Our Eyes Can See to Monolith Code, they dished out everything you’d want to hear from those two EPs. They even briefly touched on the EP they made with their label mate Michal Menert, offering their own version of “Electric Touch” from 2012’s Twilight Frequency.

But what was even more special on this night was seeing the guests that joined Break Science midway through its set. With the members of Lettuce — one of Deitch’s other projects — also in town for a gig the following week at The Roxy, keyboardist Nigel Hall and bassist Erick “Jesus” Coomes provided a nice surprise before it was time to head home.

After all, if there’s one thing that Deitch and Lee have been known to do in a live setting, it’s collaborate with other talented musicians — no matter when or where. Just a few months ago, they were part of Pretty Lights’ live band for its fall U.S. tour, selling out venues all across the country and playing cuts off the Grammy-nominated A Color Map of the Sun.

Now, as Deitch turns his attention to Lettuce, Break Science will take a few weeks off before gearing up for the festival season, which includes stops at Wakarusa and Bonnaroo — not to mention an opening slot at Red Rocks Amphitheatre for Bassnectar.

With those kinds of opportunities ahead, only time will tell how much momentum Deitch and Lee can build together as Break Science. But if I had to bet if they’ll be back at The Mint the next time they roll through LA, I certainly wouldn’t be going all in with that wager.

Break_Science1

The Motet, Shaky Feelin’ get down in LA

The-MotetBy Josh Herwitt //

The Motet with Shaky Feelin’ //
The Mint – Los Angeles
February 9th, 2014 //

Who said it’s not cool to party on a Sunday night? Well, certainly not The Motet.

The Colorado ensemble brought the funk — and subsequently, one hell of a dance par-tay — to LA on Sunday, capping off last weekend with a packed show at The Mint.

But before the Denver-based septet even hit the stage, Ventura County’s Shaky Feelin’ got the dance floor moving and grooving thanks to their feel-good jams. With drummers Paul Menchaca and Cameron Probe laying down the beats, lead singer/guitarist Mark Masson channeled his inner Trey Anastasio, offering us an hour-long lesson in shredding with one Phishy solo after the next.

While it wasn’t the first time Shaky Feelin’ had played The Mint, the set still stood as an important moment for the quintet — one it can feed off before another big opening slot, for none other than Robert Randolph & the Family Band, later this month in Agoura Hills.

Shaky-Feelin'

So, by the time The Motet was ready to join the fun, the crowd was just as eager to let loose — and evidently, so was frontman Jans Ingber. Sure, drummer Dave Watts may be the group’s founder and bandleader, but it’s Ingber who can really work a crowd. Sporting his usual curly afro, the tall, slender vocalist didn’t waste much time before unleashing his best funky dance moves.

The music, to no one’s surprise, was just as funky. Playing several cuts off its new self-titled album, The Motet captivated both first-timers and veterans with afro-influenced grooves and a horns section that features Gabe Mervine on the trumpet and Matt Pitts on the tenor saxophone. Of course, keyboardist Joey Porter, guitarist Ryan Jalbert and bassist Garrett Sayers aren’t too shabby themselves, and they made that apparent with each tune they played over the course of the night.

Now in its 12th year together, The Motet may not be on its way to mainstream commercial success any time soon, but for modern-day funk fans, it’s the gift that keeps on giving.

WIN TICKETS: The Motet with Shaky Feelin’ at The Mint 2/9

The-Motet_post

Enter to win a pair of free tickets to this show below.

The Motet with Shaky Feelin’ //
The Mint — Los Angeles
February 9, 2014 //

One of Colorado’s best funk outfits, The Motet, stroll into Los Angeles at The Mint on Sunday, February 9th and Showbams has a pair of tickets to giveaway. Fresh off the heels of their self- titled release, which marked their 7th album, The Motet is poised to make 2014 their banner year. If you’re a fan of the classic band The Meters or Parliament Funkedelic then you need to be at this show.

Starting the festivities off is one of So-Cal’s best rising Jambands, Shaky Feelin’, so be sure to get there early if you’re lucky enough to win.

Not feeling lucky? then just buy em here.


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Submit your full name and email address below.
Contest ends Friday, February 7th at Noon. Winners will be picked at random & notified by email. Your email will be kept private – we will share your email with no one. 21+ only.

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The Greyboy Allstars light up The Mint

The-Greyboy-Allstars-postBy Josh Herwitt //

The Greyboy Allstars //
The Mint – Los Angeles
December 12th, 2013 //

If there’s one man responsible for the survival of West Coast boogaloo, it’s no doubt Karl Denson.

For the last two decades, the saxophonist, who also doubles on flute, has played an integral role in pushing the boundaries of the soul-jazz landscape.

But since getting his start with Lenny Kravitz, Denson owes much of his success to The Greyboy Allstars, which originally found inspiration in 70’s soul and funk that you could hear San Diego’s DJ Greyboy spinning around town in the mid 90’s.

Nowadays, DJ Greyboy (otherwise known as Andreas Stevens) no longer remains a part of the band’s equation, but Denson and his posse — featuring Robert Walter on keyboards, Elgin Park on guitar, Chris Stillwell on bass and Aaron Redfield on drums — are still going strong 20 years later.

Touring in support of 2013’s Inland Emperor, the group’s first studio album in six years, the quintet took a trip up the coast earlier this month for two shows at The Mint in LA. Josh Herwitt caught the band in action during its second night at the small jazz club.

NOLA supergroup Dragon Smoke keep surprising

DragondSmokeBy Josh Herwitt //

Dragon Smoke featuring Ivan Neville, Stanton Moore, Eric Lindell & Robert Mercurio //
The Mint – Los Angeles
December 4th, 2013 //

There’s an old adage that “where there’s smoke, there’s fire.” Well, these days, where there’s Dragon Smoke, there’s also fire — but in a good way.

That’s just a testament to the kind of energy the New Orleans supergroup brings every night it hits the stage. Of course, whenever you put four All-Star musicians in the same room, good things can often happen.

Yet, it still takes chemistry to make a band click on all cylinders, and Dragon Smoke certainly has that with Ivan Neville, Eric Lindell, Stanton Moore and Robert Mercurio on board.

DragondSmoke1

For one, you won’t find a much better rhythm section in the music business than Moore and Mercurio, who are best known for their work with New Orleans funk outfit Galactic. Moore, after all, has become one of the most sought-after drummers over the last decade. With a burgeoning solo career that has led to playing in other supergroups like Garage A Trois and Street Sweeper Social Club, it’s hard to fathom how he has found the time for another side project. Mercurio and his bass, meanwhile, know how to stay plenty busy as well.

So, when you add Neville’s impeccable dexterity on the keys and Lindell’s tasty guitar licks to the mix, you’ve got quite the four-piece on your hands. And that’s without mentioning that Neville and Lindell can both hit the high notes when it’s time to take the mic.

After catching last year’s show at The Mint, Showbams returned to the diminutive jazz club in LA on Wednesday to see what exactly the quartet had in store this time around.

DragondSmoke2

Playing two sets that predictably extended past the three-hour mark, Dragon Smoke cooked up a mean batch of gumbo and followed that up with a healthy helping of jambalaya. There were covers of Bill Withers (“Grandma’s Hands”), BLACKstreet (“No Diggity”) and even some old school War (“Slippin’ into Darkness”).

But one of the biggest surprises of the night — and a pleasant one at that — was the band’s rendition of Fleetwood Mac’s “Landslide”, serving as another piece of evidence that at any point in time, Dragon Smoke is more than capable of taking someone else’s song and making it entirely its own.

If the packed crowd was any indication of what Dragon Smoke has become in the last 10 years, you can bet that these four horsemen will be touring again sometime next year.

Eric McFadden and his star-studded cast shred The Mint in LA

McFadden-and-FriendsBy Pete Mauch //

Eric McFadden //
The Mint – Los Angeles
January 16th, 2013 //

The Mint is hosting San Francisco native Eric McFadden every Wednesday this month, and I was fortunate enough to catch the most anticipated third Wednesday show in January. The evening’s All-Star lineup featured guitarist Nels Cline from Wilco and bassist Mike Watt from The Minutemen.

Eric McFadden is considered by many, especially his peers, to be a straight-up, bad-ass guitar virtuoso, and he showcased his many different skills on this night.

McFadden-and-Friends

McFadden started things off with a couple solo songs with just him and an acoustic guitar, which he actually plays more like an electric. His playing is hard to pin-point because he can switch from a hard-rocking solo to a finger-picking flamenco jam. I particularly liked the second song he played called “Sister Maggie, Brother Sam”, which has a Western feel to it — almost to the point where it should be on the soundtrack for “Django Unchained”. McFadden has a very dark side to his songs, and this one definitely fits the category.

Throughout the night, McFadden would alternate his cast of All-Stars, but he started with Seth Ford-Young from Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros on bass and studio drummer Curt Bisquera on the skins.

McFadden-and-Friends

Also, the amazing Norton Wisdom was painting live on stage, which was truly amazing to see. He never stays with one painting, but instead just wipes it away and starts on a new one. He repeated this at least ten times and he truly added to the overall atmosphere, which was a little twisted.  

McFadden-and-Friends

Staying with the theme, McFadden then covered “Blight”, which pleased the Widespread Panic fans in attendance. The song is a nod to his bandmate Dave Schools, who he plays with in the band Stockholm Syndrome.

Nels Cline and Mike Watt finally joined forces in the second set, and they absolutely rocked out. It got really loud and a little drowned out, but the fire between Cline and Watt is undeniable. They play in a supergroup together called Banyan with Stephen Perkins of Jane’s Addiction and Wisdom, who paints at every show of theirs as well.

McFadden-and-Friends

Mike Watt only stayed on stage for about t30 minutes, but he definitely made his presence known. Nels Cline stayed on stage for the majority of the second set, and he never disappoints. He is a master of the whammy bar, alternating his tone all while wailing away.
 
McFadden and company encored with “Maggot Brain” by Parliament Funkadelic. McFadden previously toured with P-Funk as their first mandolin player but later played guitar with the band.

McFadden-and-Friends

It was one hell of a night out, and I can’t wait to do it all again next week when McFadden once again brings some amazing talent, including Steve Molitz of Particle, to the stage.

You can buy tickets here for the next Eric McFadden residency show on Wednesday, January 23rd at The Mint.

Dragon Smoke unleash their fury at The Mint

Dragon SmokeBy Pete Mauch //

Dragon Smoke //
The Mint — Los Angeles
December 12th, 2012 //

New Orleans supergroup Dragon Smoke made their annual winter trip west, and they once again brought the heat to The Mint in LA. The band is Galactic’s rhythm section of Stanton Moore on drums and Robert Mercurio on bass and features Ivan Neville of Dumpstaphunk and New Orleans guitar staple Eric Lindell.

Lindell's-Guitar

Dragon Smoke got things going early with a funky version of “Let a Woman be a Woman, Let a Man Be a Man”. This classic song originally by Dyke and The Blazers had the crowd dancing early in the set. Lindell and Neville shared vocal duties on most songs, and they are both excellent singers. Lindell has a very Southern soul sound to him that just reeks of New Orleans. Of course, Ivan Neville also has his soulful growl he delivers with great phrasing, as he did with the song “Out in the Country”.

As always, Moore and Mercurio were locked in tight. They seemed especially fired up for this concert. Moore did his signature “standing up and going apeshit on the drums”, while Mercurio head-bobbed his way through the groove. It was quite a treat to see this up close at The Mint.

Stanton-&-Mecurio

The highlight of the night came deep in the second set and was a huge sandwich of “Slipping into Darkness” > “Fire on the Bayou” > “Fly Like an Eagle” >”Fire on the Bayou”  > “Slipping into Darkness.”  All of the songs were weaved in and out of each other effortlessly.

Lindell-and-Stanton

Lindell then had a soulful take on George Jones’s “She Thinks I Still Care” that was very moving. They ended the night with Billy Prestions “Will it Go Round in Circles” that was the perfect way to end the show.

Greensky Bluegrass throw down at The Mint

By Pete Mauch //

Greensky Bluegrass //
The Mint – Los Angeles
November 2nd, 2012 //

Greensky Bluegrass stormed into The Mint in LA on Friday and delivered a tasty set of foot-stompin’ originals and clever cover songs that you wouldn’t normally expect at a bluegrass show. There’s something special about this quintet from Kalamazoo, Michigan because you feel immediatly connected with them as if they’re playing on your back porch. Anders Beck, who plays the dobro, could easily be a comedian on the side. His banter in between songs is priceless. Greensky Bluegrass is a force to be reckoned with on the bluegrass scene, and they proved it once again at The Mint.

Freshly shaven Paul Hoffman on Mandolin delivers songs with great passion and skill. His mandolin playing is delicate yet his voice bellows out thoughtful lyrics. I particularly liked his playing on Greensky’s original “Old Barns.” This powerful tune evokes the feeling of listening to your grandfather telling stories about the good ol’ days, and Hoffman played it beautifully. One of my favorite songs, “All Four,” which is the last track off their newest album Handguns was also a highlight of the set. “I’d Probably Kill You” is fun little number that was sung by Dave Bruzza that is probably about an ex-girlfriend who drove him nuts, and it features a great mandolin solo by Hoffman.

Another great part of the band is their beautiful harmonies, which are well thought-out and add to their unique sound. Guitarist Dave Bruzza has a deep voice that compliments Hoffman’s softer tone. Bruzza was sporting a mullet leftover from Halloween night when they played an all 80’s cover show in San Francisco at The Independent. It seemed to fit right into the bluegrass scene and of course Anders had to point that out with his witty stage banter. Now, Beck may be a jokester, but when it comes to the Dobro he is very serious. His addition to the band just a few years back really adds great depth and texture.

One of my favorite parts of a Greensky Bluegrass’ show is their amazing choice of covers. Fresh off the Halloween covers show, I figured they had some new cuts that they wanted to share to this LA crowd. They ended the first set with “Second that Emotion”, originally by Smokey Robinson, and it was well-received. Grateful Dead’s “West L.A. Fadeaway” also made an appearance, much to the delight of this West LA crowd. Greensky even dared to take on Pink Floyd’s classic rocker “Time” in great bluegrass fashion, and they conquered it. Paul Simon’s “You Can Call Me Al” ended the night, and they rocked this classic tune out, and before I knew what hit me, the night was over. Greensky Bluegrass is the real deal, and their show guarantees a great night out on the town.

“You Can Call Me Al”:

“I’d Probably Kill You”:

Steve Kimock Band at The Mint LA

The Steve Kimock Band came to LA on friday night and played to a packed house at The Mint. The Band, which features legendary keyboardist Bernie Worrell from Parliament Funkadelic and The Talking Heads, played a very eclectic set that weaved in & out of many genres with ease. Andy Hess and Wally Ingram are the backbone of this band, as they were seriously locked into each other all night. Andy Hess was laying deep bass grooves as Ingram kept things pretty loose behind the kit. There was also a live artist painting a beautiful chinese dragon that gave the show a nice vibe.

Steve Kimock Band really covers a lot of ground as they play so many different styles of music. One of my favorite moments of the night was a fun little reggae number that showcased Wally Ingram’s diverse style. Steve Kimock, with his arsenal of guitars, seems so relaxed on stage, even at the most climatic moments. I really enjoyed the band’s take on The Beatles “Come Together,” especially Kimock’s guitar work. They segued into a New Orleans-style song that had Bernie Worrell howling at the crowd like a street perfomer on Bourbon Street.

For the second set, the band invited a talented saxophone player to join them, which added great texture. This set was full of wailing guitar solos trading off with blistering sax leads followed by amazing organ work by Worrell. The highlight of the show for me was the cover of “Take Me to The River.” Originally by Al Green but made famous by The Talking Heads, Bernie Worrell showcased his vocals once again on this take. The Saxophonist and Worrell really shined on this song as they traded off solos with Kimock.

This is a really fun band to see and I hope Kimock keeps this outfit together, but I know it will be hard because Worrell is known to move on to different projects pretty regularly. The Steve Kimock band gets the Showbams approval.

Video of “Take Me to The River” Thanks to Tree Sister From PT