Sunday, June 11, 2006
Spam everybody wants
Run-D.M.C. once declared that a DJ could be a band. Since that time, not many have taken this to heart. Bands like Linkin Park and Kid Rock's Silver Trucker Band have reduced the DJ to a side player, adding textures of scratching and beats only where it is called for, which is not terribly often.
The Spam All Stars have taken this role and turned it on its head. DJ Le Spam (aka Andrew Yeomanson) hails from Miami and has been a multi instrumentalist for many years, even playing guitar for local favorite Nil Lara for a few years in the mid-90s. This combined with spending his early years moving from cities as diverse as Montreal, London, Tampa, Bogota, and Toronto, have made Yeomanson a man of many influences. These roots come out in the Spam All Stars' live show.
The Spam All Stars bring a DJ set with band accompaniment. This is a concept that has served them well for over a decade, which has included such accolades as a Latin Grammy nomination and having their music featured on television shows such as PBS's Latino Art and Culture.
Throughout their Gainesville visit, DJ Le Spam and company moved from salsa to dub to fusion to funk and back, all with the seamless verve of veteran musicians. Le Spam was clearly the band leader, however. Vocalist flautist Mercedes Abal, guitarist Adam Zimmon, and other band members weaved their musical contributions over Le Spam's musical cauldron of breaks, funk, and Miami bass. "The instruments get to come in and out, dancing around each other," commented an anonymous fan between sets. Saxophone and timpani complete the Spam sound, adding that extra Latin flavor that fully brings out their Miami roots.
The instruments weren't the only things dancing. Other between-set entertainment included a pair of improvising breakdancers, throwing down windmills, headspins, and other bodily wonders with relative ease. Most in the audience found it compulsory to keep moving during the All Stars' set, with a large contingent bopping and grooving to the beat as if they were at a Medeski, Martin, and Wood show.
Despite the oppressive heat inside The Atlantic, many stayed to witness the Spam All Stars' final notes of the evening. Many clearly wanted more, and more they will get with their four independently-released CDs and their monthly visits to Gainesville. Estarán detrás...they'll be back!