Throwback Thursday: Brand New Heavies @ SOBs – May 6, 1991

 

We’re super excited to present our third installment of Throwback Thursday. Today, Giant Step President/CEO Maurice Bernstein recounts the Brand New Heavies’ debut NYC show.

This was the first of about four shows we did with Brand New Heavies. They were just about to release their debut album here on Delicious Vinyl; the original version was released on Acid Jazz in the UK.

We were playing The Brand New Heavies at Giant Step for quite a while. “A Dream Come True” originally came out with Jay Ella Ruth on vocals. But when the band signed to Delicious Vinyl in the United States, they decided to have N’Dea Davenport (another Delicious signee) become the vocalist.

They re-recorded some tracks like “A Dream Come True” for the American album version, and N’Dea definitely gave it a funkier sound. Also, “Never Stop” was an instrumental on the original album; when they recorded it for America, they had N’Dea sing on it.

This first New York show paired with an American debut album on the way got the band quite a big buzz. The show sold out. The who’s who of downtown New York were there – everybody wanted to see The Brand New Heavies. The place was packed, and people went bananas. It was a very energetic, memorable show

An aside – people might notice that we presented the show under the name Groove Academy at that time; This was because we wanted Giant Step as a club to stand alone and Groove Academy was the name were using for concerts back then.

The album came out and “Never Stop” was a radio hit. The following summer we had them play at our first anniversary show at The Palladium with Parliament Funkadelic headlining; The Brand New Heavies opened up and backed Blowfly as well – that’s a story for another time. [laughs]

Giant Step’s Resident 33: Menahan Street Band, Hot Chip and Obama

By Mawuse Ziegbe

I’m gonna miss Michelle. And David. And Jon. And Nicole. And even Marianne, although we’ve only recently become acquainted. On November 4th we’ll have a new president but I’ll no longer get eloquent emails addressed to me from the good folks at the Obama campaign. Yes, most of the emails were like, “Mawuse– With your contribution of $25 dollars we can make it rain on this here election.” But still, I felt special. And what am I going to do with no more rallies to attend? I have to entertain myself now that we’re done with the Young Professionals, DJs, Promoters, Housewives and Seal Pups for Obama events. For instance, I went to a Yogis for Obama rally. And I hate yoga. I listened to Russell Simmons speak about how we can make change in this election while patiently sipping “liberation tea.”

If Barack and Michelle were really my homies, I would hip them to some other quietly superhuman talents: Menahan Street Band. MSB is a project featuring members from all the New York instrumental bands that have mattered in recent years: The Dap-Kings, Budos Band, Antibalas and El Michels Affair. Their languid “Make The Road By Walking” is the basis for Jay-Z’s “Roc Boys” and their album of the same name is just made so well. Think full, smoky soul that wags between plucky dub and crackly, wheezy country.

And something tells me that if Mimi and Barry weren’t busy saving the world, they’d be into the Delicious Rmmxology compilation. The premise is simple: A few DJs slice up classic Delicious Vinyl jams. I could see Barack grooving to Hot Chip’s gravelly re-working of The Pharcyde’s “Passin’ Me By.” Michelle would be easily enamored with the Philippians’ delicate synthy remix of Pharcyde’s “Runnin.’” And I’m convinced no one can resist the epic, hyper thump of Masta Ace’s “Sittin’ On Chrome” as re-imagined by Mr. Flash.

Like the Obamas, UK-based outfit, Friendly Fires is just what this country needs. They make flashy yet airy disco rock replete with tangy cowbells and turbo drumming. All while wearing these darling little pantsuits. Their cover of Lykke Li’s “I’m Good I’m Gone” makes great use of power piano chords once left to rot on old CeCe Peniston records. “Paris,” with its dreamy lyrics and mammoth chorus could easily be the soundtrack to an historic inauguration.

Even if he gets too busy to keep in touch, I’m glad I got to know one of the biggest hope dealers in American history. And on November 5th, while I’m listening to MSB’s “Esma” and planning what to do with all my free time, I just hope I get a very simple email: “Mawuse — We did it.”