At World Cafe Live the basement serves as a mid-sized concert venue, while the ground floor takes the form of a restaurant, serving hot food and live music. This floor is typically reserved for lesser known, casual, yet incredibly talented musicians.
Even just skimming through the event calendar, you’re not likely to know too many of the artists performing, but upon arriving, you’ll find lots of talent. Oct. 19, music lovers had the chance to catch Norfolk, Virginia natives Major and the Monbacks open the upstairs set for No BS Brass Band.
Major and the Monbacks caught my attention the first time I heard their self-titled album. It’s impossible to give the music a genre, but it outright does not sound like it belongs in this decade. The rock-’n’-roll-esque soul music includes the traditional rock sounds, combined with loud wind instruments (that unfortunately, are not played live).
Their studio style is just as good as their live show, but they seemed to lack the same energy. The band members rarely did more than play their instruments and they certainly didn’t break a sweat by the end of their set. Although the music was fantastic, the live performance did need a bit of a tuneup.
I recognized a few songs, but the band admitted they had been playing mostly new tunes off an upcoming album. Of the songs I recognized, “I Can Hardly Wait” and “Annabelle” were fantastic. “Annabelle” is a delightful ’60s-style song with an incredibly smooth chorus that had everyone dancing along by the end of the song. It was clear that the audience had little clue who Major and the Monbacks were, but “Annabelle” captured everyone’s attention.
Although the live performance was a bit underwhelming, the band did a great job “mixing it up” when the pianist switched with the guitarist for a song near the end of the set.
Other than that, the only other unique part of the show was the small percussion booth the band had at the back of the stage. The band does feature a traditional drummer (who was wearing a mighty fine Chase Utley shirt), but shoved away in the corner was an energetic band member with a plethora of percussion items to jam out from. The small booth featured a triangle, a tambourine and bongos among other percussion instruments that added some flair to the show.
The band is absolutely worth a listen, as their retro style is hard to find in the current age of music. Despite the somewhat droll live performance, their music is still enjoyable and worth checking out if you have the time.