By Kristin Gray
Photos by Sara Vogt
Have you ever wondered where the fun-loving festival goers party in the winter? The answer is Terminal West to see BoomBox. A different crowd than the norm (if there is such a thing for this venue), I walked in and instantly felt like I was at an outdoor summer fest. Chilling and dancing with the eccentric, happy folks that are regulars at these events. It even smelled like a festival.
The night kicked off with DJ Ramona Wouters, a pleasantly talented artist who has opened for some great talent and often tours with BoomBox. Her set started us off right, with a wonderful house mix that caught the audience’s sweet spot. When I arrived the dancing had already begun and only intensified as she continued weaving for us a rich array of sounds. I kid you not when I say that Ramona’s music was bumpin' enough to inspire someone’s mom to start break dancing on the floor.
After a great set and the pleasure of witnessing a wickedly impressive dance session, BoomBox came to the stage. With a full DJ deck, guitar, drums and mic I fully expected guest artists to step up. But no, the duo was about to show us a musical mastery I have never seen before live. Growing up on various instruments, producing, and DJing, these guys could do it all. On the stage was vocalist/guitarist Zion Godchaux, whose parents happened to work and perform with The Grateful Dead, and Russ Randolph, DJ and drummer extraordinaire. Russ was donned in a pink polka dot hat and headgear that could have been stolen straight from Willy Wonka. I knew this was going to be a fun night.
The talent these two exhibited was second to none. Sexy guitar riffs and seamless transitions between turntable and a drum set that filled the venue with a groovy, funky house beat. These guys are no freshman to the performance world, having been playing and producing together for over ten years. Known for their improvisation rather than playing a pre-decided upon track set, they tune their music to the mood of their beloved fans.
There were brief interludes to their upbeat grooves when their music hit a darker turn, Russ kicking in deeper sounds that completely changed the movement of the crowd. It became more intense, but just as quickly as it came, they brought us back to their soulful vibes. But at no point did I think this was choppy or out of place. It was more like they were saying, “We know you love our groovy, psychedelic rock, but now come join us on the dark side for a moment.”
We stayed strong till the end, nobody wanting to leave, as we were all caught up in the magic of their songs. Striking up the chords for an oldie but a goodie, Stereo, the crowd lost their minds, unable to stop cheering and relishing. From that point, they continuously brought back in snippets of the song throughout the night, mixing parts of the bass or guitar notes into other songs. It really showed their intuitiveness and creativity that gives them such a unique sound. It was an evening of musical diversity and harmony that none of us will soon forget.