serpentwithfeet Melds Classical And R&B Sonics To Surprising Effect [REVIEW+PHOTOS] REVIEW+PHOTOS: serpentwithfeet @ The Palace Theater 11/1/16 For Red Bull Sound Select's 30 Days In LA
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When Josiah Wise took the dimly lit stage at the Palace Theatre in Los Angeles, I wasn’t sure what expect. He performs under the name serpentwithfeet, and as my ears were virgin to his sonics, I could only speculate on what was to come. Dressed in a long overcoat with the spotlight shining down on his shaved, tattooed head, revealing the long shadow that his tall frame created on the floor, what my ears received was something otherworldly; something divinely beautiful and oddly eccentric.
The music that serpentwithfeet performs is melding of two almost disparate musical genres: R&B and classical. Although he took the stage without a band, his backing tracks were a full orchestral compositions, grandiose and majestic in nature. Each song was an aria, with Josiah’s mellifluous tenor voice soulfully dancing over the complex arrangements. Orchestral Soul. I was captivated.
Clearly, this is a musician who is classically trained, whose musical mind’s-eye is not limited by the “this is what’s now hot” ethos that so many musicians adhere to. Inherent in his “operatic” style of his music, the lyrics play a significant role, giving each song a depth of meaning and story to pay attention to. It’s a sophisticated sound that appeals to the listener to take chances, and that’s a chance that I’m more than willing to take.
Certainly, there were those in the audience who perhaps didn’t understand or didn’t want to accept this merging of genres (clearly made evident to me by the two dudes wearing cargo shorts, t-shirts and ball caps who constantly yapped to each other during virtually the entire performance), but that’s their loss and I have no sympathy for them for not being able, or not caring, to recognize what I’m confident is an artist who is creating fine art through a modern prism.
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— Derrick K. Lee (@methodman13) November 7, 2016