Suddenly, a shimmering vision graces the stage and you realize how wrong you could be. Shirtless, glittery, lithe limbed and curly locked. Why, it must be Ezra Huleatt of the BLACK TAXI quartet gearing up to rock your socks off, and inflict upon you a serious case of glitter envy.
Ezra is one of those people that commands the room. Even in the small venue, he has a humongous stage presence that rivals the likes of Queen’s late Freddie Mercury or The Rolling Stones’ Mick Jagger. The size of the stage was no contest in him being able to whip up a storm, from banging his drum, skipping about with his tambourine, blowing his trumpet or emanating exuberance from his keyboard and beyond - there was literally no stopping his musical wizardry. Although I’m pretty sure that stopping him was the last thing anyone wanted to happen. Covered in body art drawn by his friend, Alexis, Ezra saw to it that said body art was well and truly smudged by the end of the set, sweltered off by a successfully gut busting, give-it-all-you-got performance.
Not content with having just one amazing vocalist, the greedy blighters have two. The second appearing in the form of wingman Bill Mayo, who also happens to be insanely amazing on the guitar. Complimenting the two talented little minxes to form this special assemblage is Jason Holmes on drums and Krisana Soponpong on bass. It’s easy to imagine that every show BLACK TAXI play feels like history has just been made right in front of your very eyes. They have an astounding vigor and mesmerizing vibrancy that got every pair of feet in the small venue in New York’s lower east side dancing, amazed at the sheer awesomeness that was being produced. One guy at the front couldn’t keep his emotions in, shouting his praise to the band in between songs, to which drummer Jason responded, “Someone buy that guy a drink.”
The band are selling out venues in NYC with a fervour usually saved for Harry Potter premiere tickets and I‘ll let you know why. At the show it seemed like a void had been created and in it was placed BLACK TAXI. Just as the musical pied pipers that they are, the small room of people was overtaken by their spell-binding theatrics. Even Bright Light Social Hour bassist and moustachioed legend, Jack O’Brien, was swinging from the side of the stage trying to get a shot of the band and the audience going wild at them.
The band treated their followers to a series of songs off their album “Things Of That Nature”, with a notable rendition of "Take A Ticket", a catchy number that has an electro off-pop vibe and a similar punchiness akin to "22 Grand Job" from British indie rockers, "The Rakes". "Take A Ticket" is a frantic and happy track that you can’t help but get your elbows involved in dancing along to. You know the move.
The song ‘Shoeshine’ descended on the crowd like the candy encased piñata every kid wants at their birthday party. Happiness was exuded amidst the excited shouts, as it's a track that just gets stuck right in your head. It’s also going to get stuck in lots of passenger’s heads aboard Virgin America flights, as it has been picked up to feature on their in-flight television network.
BLACK TAXI have started writing their second full-length album, and their set featured some of their new material. Their current concoction has just about everything you’d want from an album, including a jazzy, elevator number, aptly entitled "7th Floor Please." An album this appealing and well-rounded is a feat that is hard to come by, so it will be interesting to see if they can match this with their next endeavor, due out in Fall.
BLACK TAXI are the party. Take one curly haired, vibrant, dance-aholic, a technical guitar genius, an endearingly superb bassist, and a rythmic God, Chris Martin look-alike drummer, and there you have it. One hell of a party.