Becoming the first act to sell out Sacramento’s newly minted Starlet Room, Brooklyn’s Phony Ppl descended on the capital Monday night in support of their ‘Mō’zā-ik Tour.’ Accompanied by Los Angeles’ DAISY, the two bands pulled the sold out crowd into a kindred of rhythms.
With minimal ado, Phony Ppl’s Bari Bass (bass), Matt “Maffyuu” Byas (drums), Aja Grant (keyboard), Elijah Rawk (lead guitar) and Elbee Thrie (vocals), took over the tightly squeezed stage inside The Starlet Room and let their sonic juices flow as freely as their individual personas. Just as their Twitter profile says, the band chooses not to conform to any genres, neither on paper nor in person. However, one cannot deny the influences of jazz, hip-hop, soul and rock ’n’ roll found throughout their discography and studious careers.
The band would kick the night off ironically with 2015’s “End of The niGht,” which served as a simmering welcome to the multi-layered grooves that would follow. While the current tour is heavily driven by Phony Ppl’s sophomore album, ‘Mō’zā-ik,’ longtime fans were eager to hear their favorite cuts from ‘Yesterday’s Tomorrow,’ which played like they were just released. In fact, when the group played an unreleased song, titled “Messing Around,” it was made clear that the future of Phony Ppl sounds just as good as its past.
Perhaps the greatest indication of any artists’ looming success is their ability to capture a live crowd’s attention and turn it into an experience. Once Elbee Thrie pronounced Brooklyn was in the building, there was a fulfilling acknowledgment that Phony Ppl’s energy is not only raw, infectious and purely positive, but it is seeded from a cultured world of music and human synergy. We could see it throughout the band’s interactions with one another, but we could feel it as each song seeped into a solo performance from one to the other.
Whether it was a shirtless Bari Bass thumping through the crowd with the smoothest bass lines or Elijah Rawk’s clout-assuring sunglasses making every lick of the guitar count a little more, the energy was constant. However, right beside Aja Grant’s magical keys, it was Maffyuu’s drums that never let the spirit of the night die—which he seemingly did without breaking a sweat.
As casual as an old friend catching you up on their latest hobby, Thrie would regularly comment on the fact that the group is currently and continuously working on new music. He also made it clear that there would never be another body of work that sounds like the previous one, which evidently excited him as much as the fans in the crowd.
For those who have lived through countless plays of tracks off ‘Mō’zā-ik,’ and ‘Yesterday’s Tomorrow,’ Monday’s show satisfied a long-awaited experience, for even the oldest songs seemed to be layered with new sounds throughout the live show.
Essential tracks for new listeners:
- “Before You Get A Boyfriend”
- “Take A Chance”
- “Either Way”
- “somethinG about your love”
- “Why iii Love The Moon”
For more information on everything Phony Ppl, visit Phony-Ppl.com.
Photos by Cesar Alexander