NEPA Scene Staff

Experimental indie funk duo Paris Monster performs at River Street Jazz Cafe in Plains on April 8

Experimental indie funk duo Paris Monster performs at River Street Jazz Cafe in Plains on April 8
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From a press release:

Experimental indie funk rockers Paris Monster are coming from New York City to play the River Street Jazz Cafe in Plains on Friday, April 8.

Their acclaimed live performances are truly something to behold. Jambase wrote, “It was the opening set from Paris Monster that literally dropped the jaws of both ticket holders and Turkuaz members alike. The duo creates a heavily textured sound drawing on ambient electronic experimentation that fuses with R&B vocals and a technically precise execution that feels like watching a magic show.”

The Wilkes-Barre-based Brendan Brisk Band will bring their own “psychedelic funky jazz pop” to the stage as the opening act.

Doors at the Jazz Cafe (667 N. River St., Plains) open at 8 p.m., and the 21+ show starts at 9 p.m. Tickets, which are $12 in advance or $15 the day of the show, are on sale now and can be purchased online via HoldMyTicket.

Beat-driven. Employing heavy elements of funk and soul, Paris Monster closes the gaps between synth pop and garage, between modern detail and old school grit. Solid earth. Soaring soundscapes. A mass of noise. Volatility. Vocal singularity.

New York City’s The Deli magazine called the two-man band “a precise, complex, and sophisticated mechanism” with a “a monstrous instrumental technique,” delivering a sound that “could be the new face of American roots rock.”

Paris Monster – Josh Dion (vocals, drums, and keyboard) and Geoff Kraly (bass and modular synth) – formed in 2012 and released an EP, “It Once Had Been Kind,” in 2013. In the fall of 2017, they began recording their first full-length LP, “Lamplight.” Debuting on Jan. 25, 2019, the album solidified their dirty, glitchy, lyric-centered, groove-based sound and was a milepost in their search for a focused and flexible musical approach. The elements of funk and soul join with lyrical themes of bygone eras in rural settings, characters lost, and mortality confronted. Love achieved and denied. Americana. Themes in stark contrast to the pounding grooves and electronic mayhem, creating depths and dimensions that could have been otherwise achieved only by dropping a modular synth in the corn fields of central New York or the woods of Connecticut. And maybe that’s exactly what happened.

Lesley Keller of the blog Pancakes and Whiskey said, “Each time I see them perform, I’m dumbfounded at just how great they are.” Touring with bands like Turkuaz, the challenge when seeing them live is getting past the fact that there are only two people creating all that sound. Two people. A drum set. A bass. A keyboard. A eurorack modular synth. One microphone. And all that sound. Beyond this visual impossibility is a careful and deliberate balance of sounds, colors, and textures. Melodies to serve a story. Chaos to destroy preciousness.

The Deli NYC observed, “As we all know now, ‘with great power comes great responsibilities,’ and the duo never abuses of it – that’s what good musicianship is.” When discussing the 2016 single “Ain’t No Movin’ Me,” they said, “[Paris Monster] showcases its prowess for hook writing/crafting a track that could stand without accompaniment as a bluesy, spiritual declaration, but is launched into another realm by its bed of synths and echoing choruses. An inspired take on blues folk that’s both hypnotic and engaging.”

Brendan Brisk is a composer, producer, and multi-instrumentalist out of Wilkes-Barre. He is inspired by the Pennsylvania wilderness, outer space, and the great mysteries that exist beyond our senses. 2016 saw the release of his first album, “Astral Counterfeit,” a solo excursion that explores funk, soul, and jazz elements and plays upon the influences of Beck, Sly and the Family Stone, and Sun Ra.

Following this debut, Brisk connected with Bernard Gavlick (bass), Justin Malinowski (drums), and Miles Orfanella (trumpet) to bring his recordings to the stage. Artistic integrity is encapsulated through the band’s wild improvisations, turning their live shows into a platform for experimentation, expression, and creativity.

Brisk’s second release, “Relaxylvania,” builds upon the momentum of the band and introduces a collaborative flair to a continued exploration of unique, genre-bending sounds. “Relaxylvania” creates an atmospheric space that encompasses a diversity of energies, from its driving opening track “Fanfare” to the ethereal closer “Music for Gabriel.”

Brisk is currently an artist on the Astrology Days record label alongside Scranton/Wilkes-Barre jamgrass group Cabinet.

Photo by Elizabeth Lauren West