The Morning After is a cross-pollination of soul, bluegrass, jazz, rhythm and blues, with a hint of reggae, led by powerhouse front woman, Rachel Koontz. This girl has emotion in her voice, and you can hear it when she’s wailing into the microphone. One of the most radical things about The Morning After is that Koontz isn’t the only one in the group with a set of pipes. Lindsey Tims on Bass, Shawn Case on the Mandolin, Hank Smith on Banjo, and the amazing fiddler, Pattie Hopkins all have mind-blowing voices. Hopkins amazed me while she finger picked her fiddle to create a twangy dynamic sound that added to the repertoire of this band. They could be a banging a-cappella group, if they weren’t also brilliant instrumentalists.
The stage presence of The Morning After is soulful and emotional, and drummer, Mike Roasado keeps the whole thing together. You can really feel it. The way Koontz dances around stage like a hippie thunderstorm, you can’t help to dance with her. They can’t be stuffed into one genre or category and can be enjoyed by any music lover.
The Royal Noise opened for the Raleigh band. They drove all the way from Philly, fought through Memorial Day traffic and exploded out of their van ready to bring the funk to Raleigh. Celebrating their third album release, “This is the Funky Part” they lived up to the name, but don’t let the name of the album fool you. The Royal Noise is way more than a funk band. They bring a psychedelic jazzy electronica sound filled with dance grooves and soulful sax created by keyboardist/saxophonist Mike LaBombard. Founded in 2010 by guitarist Johan Harvey, and enforced with infectious bass grooves from Rodrigo Pichardo and the ever-changing percussion of Aaron Zarrow, The Royal Noise is a band that can bring an eclectic blend of all things funky. One of their new songs stuck out to me, “Momentum” reminded me of a 80’s synthesized surf tune mixed with earthy jazz that turns into a funked-out groove that gets everybody on the dance floor.
This show reminded me of why I love music. Especially today, there are so many awesome things going on with fusions of genres. The Morning After and The Royal Noise are two different examples of how different genres of music can be blended together to create completely new sounds.
- review & photos by Eric Everington