I’m still reeling from the sheer amount of talent displayed at the 7th annual Moja Moja brunch and afterparty, held at the Avalon and the Bardot on February 7th. The founders of Moja Moja, Garth Trinidad and Ramona Wright, were very excited to share with the crowd the subsequent string of enormously gifted, young musicians: Taylor McFerrin, Twin Danger, Moses Sumney, and The Internet. As people were filling their plates in the buffet line and finding their seats, Nick Waterhouse was buttering the brunching crowd with a refreshing DJ set of soul and R&B. Aaron Byrd of KCRW played host and gave a personal introduction of each act and what the crowd was about to witness: absolute talent. The first performance was that of Brainfeeder’s Taylor McFerrin, which I was most highly anticipating. His LP, Early Riser, already displayed his masterful beat manipulation, but his live show hit this home with an electrifying, live interpretation of the tracks. What he offered was a light and floaty Flying Lotus with elements of psychedelic electronic soul.
Bobby McFerrin seems to have had an amazing influence on his son, with jazzy elements being incorporated into Taylor’s keys. From the beginning of his set, it was clear that beatmaster McFerrin was injecting energy into the room, enthralling the audience with his distinctive sound. Half of them were loyal listeners of his album and could recite every word, while the other half had never heard of him and immediately fell under his beat blanket. His performance incorporated features of the Brainfeeder style with its smooth, natural, soulful vibe and slow building beats gradually layering over each other. His set combined the sounds of birds chirping, beats, keys, echoing voices, acapella, and looped beatboxing. All of that combined, McFerrin rapt a room filled with sponsors, press, and fans. McFerrin displayed his brilliant manipulation of the listener, holding them at the tips of his fingers: The Nils Frahm of R&B.
The next act was Twin Danger, with tunes that I would classify as lounge music with an edge. The band was very tight in their cohesive instrumentation. Here presents a melting of R&B and jazz, with vocals like a French cabaret singer. On top of everything, they covered QOTSA’s ‘No One Knows.’ Plus, they all wore cool hats.
Moses Sumney followed Twin Danger with a set that can only be defined as ethereal folky soul. If you have ever had the pleasure of seeing him perform live, you will have borne witness to how deftly Sumney can loop his beatboxing, snaps, and claps into a beautiful swell. He kicked things off with a new track, but incorporated some favorites such as ‘Plastic’ and ‘Everlasting Sigh.’ Soul seems to be the heart of everything he does, his passion eliciting a standing ovation from the crowd at the end of his set.
The Internet is an act that knows exactly how to craft emotive, jazzy, funky, soulful jams. The singer, Syd tha Kyd, made a name for herself as a DJ and producer for Odd Future and its various individual members’ works. The boys in the crew needed a DJ so Syd taught herself how to work the turntables. She enjoyed it, but was more passionate about creating her own music. After meeting Matt Martians, they connected about their music taste and mutual impatience in waiting for their favorite artists to put out music. Today, The Internet has generated an impressive following and their live performance is something that everyone must experience. It made people who were seated throughout the entire event rise and groove. During their performance, Syd took off her shoes in order to dance more comfortably and, at one point, reached such a peak of emotion that she had to sit down.
There was a palpable familial air to the entire event. The donation of time and energy by volunteers and sponsors resulted in an amazing afternoon of poignant tunes. Everyone I interacted with was so enthusiastic about the acts and truly excited about their futures, which are undoubtedly bright. ARIELLA