Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Review: The Ventriloquists at The Mint

[the ventriloquists]
The Ventriloquists
On Friday May 24th at The Mint in Los Angeles The Ventriloquists performed a set of moving tunes to an enthusiastic audience. I felt it a privilege to witness their live show in the sophisticated yet accessible aura that this venue spreads about the musical acts that traverses its stage. Initially the performance was impressive, simply from the visual impact that five multi-instrumental musicians on stage is able to wield.

Upon hearing the successive tunes, however, rich in their lyrical depth and in their textured melodic and harmonic layers, I was won over through my ears. The Ventriloquists shape a kind of poetry in sound and sense full of lament and celebration, angst and consummation. Sometimes aggressive, with nip and nibble of acerbic wit, sometimes soothingly haunting in their jazz-infused energy, always playful, always intriguing, these tunes make an impact. What these talented musicians are making are songs that people will sing and not forget.

This band admits that they are hard to classify, writing and playing tunes that they share a love for, rather than consciously making their music fit into an already-established category. They call themselves Americana, but even that designation seems too narrow. One song sounds like a slow James Brown number, another like Radiohead with horns, another (at moments) somewhat like Sigur Ros backing Fishbone. And ultimately, even their own tentative suggestion that some have said they are perhaps most similar to The Band with a sturdy horn section fails to convey an accurate adumbration of what one will experience in witnessing this group in their unfiltered glory.

Upon listening, one is struck with the feeling that this band which has been in existence for over five years is just now finding footing musically, stone steady in confidence while entirely avoiding any possibility of petrification.

Get their album, Bailout!, and go see them live when you get a chance. You will find them unlike any band you've seen before.


  1. Hey there. Long time fan of the band! I am fortunate to have seen them live many times and am SO happy to read your kind awesome words!
    Cheers to the band!