Still a relatively young band, having formed just under two years ago, Boo City’s inspired and eccentric genre hopping has been impressing people all over the city, most notably at a swanky New Year’s Eve gig, and at a recent show at the beautiful ballroom at the new Fête in Olneyville, and what seems like every other stage, floor and warehouse space in Rhode Island as well. With vocal duties split between the lovely Tai Awolaju and guitarist Andrew Moon Bain, the band sprinkles a remarkable amount of stuff across their songs: country blues in the vein of Taj Mahal’s forays into the genre, candy-sweet rhythm and blues (as on their own “Don’t Deny Me”), and dalliances in liquid smooth rocksteady and reggae, evident on the intensely atmospheric “Sugar Skull Lover,” a gorgeous song that would sound right at home on Sade’s Lover’s Rock.
One of the highlights of Boo City is Ms. Awolaju, whose perfectly placed voice keeps the dizzying array of musical styles from spinning off the rails. Her impeccably tasteful live performances, along with her near perfect reading of their own “You’re No Good,” find her simply killing it in classic soul singer territory.
The band has an album ready to drop, and apparently another already written. With a more focused and refined approach to their own songwriting, Boo City could easily position themselves as a more worldly and eclectic Providence answer to New York soul revivalists Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings.
Don King, vice president/co-owner of Fête: “When I first heard Boo City two or three years ago, I felt they had a lot of work to do to articulate this vision that Andrew Moon Bain had. But after a while they just locked into this sound, crossing genres, not being afraid to mix genres that don’t necessarily seem like they belong together. In one song you can hear a combination of indie rock, country and western, and reggae – and there’s nothing kitschy or gimmicky about it. It’s something I feel says that this band is really on its way.”