Favorite ThisBeats, beat-boxing and belly dancing at Harpers Ferry

Published: October 29, 2010


By Jamie Reysen

The worldly and eclectic sounds of Beats Antique filled a packed room Oct. 22 at Harpers Ferry in Boston, Mass.

The Oakland-based trio and their fans brought the 40-year-old venue to life—ironic, since it’s set to close Oct. 31. The high-voltage energy of the room made me wonder how Harpers Ferry could shut its doors forever, let alone for the night.

The event was a true performance. Forget a generic light show: a belly-dancing troupe wriggled onstage before opening act Lynx even got started.

Lynx was an inspiring one-woman show. Her multitude of talents surprised and engaged the audience; Lynx sang, beat-boxed, played a banjo, banged on a drum, and kept her original electronic beats flowing for almost an hour.  Her immense stage presence coupled with telling lyrics evoked a contagious celebration of strength and independence. She had me smiling one minute and teary-eyed the next with lyrical stories of love, war and everything in between.

It’s as if she tricked the audience into thinking they came just for her. By the time Beats Antique took the stage, the audience’s energy was at capacity, much like the venue.

David Satori, Tommy Cappel and Zoe Jakes took the stage and made music that showcased how in sync they are as a group. Their music—a fusion of instrumentals, electronic beats, jazz and Middle Eastern melodies, among other things—made perfect sense as Jakes belly danced to the rhythm, and the crowd tried to keep up.

There was an array of instruments spanning across the stage. Each band member had at least one drum; Jakes wore hers around her neck when she wasn’t dancing, while Cappel multitasked between drums and electronic beats.  Satori played percussion and strings, most of his time dominated by the viola.

It’s the combination of live instrumentation against electronic production that brings the sounds of Beats Antique to life. The use of live instruments in and of itself gave their worldly sound a very personal feel. It almost felt like a jam session at times.  At other moments, it transformed into a set more akin to a performing arts piece, with Jakes’ innovative belly dancing moves taking centerstage. This appeared to be the most important aspect of the set for most of the audience. Like Jakes, they were there to dance.

The audience itself was a mix of plainclothes appreciators and adoring fans decked out like belly dancing understudies, wearing crop top tshirts and sarongs, with bindis securely fastened to sweaty foreheads. Everybody fit in just fine, regardless of where they fell on the spectrum. Strangers tried to shout at me over the music: “This is awesome,” and “Can you believe this?”

It’s certainly hard to believe that their music, a melting pot of chaos and diversity fueled by a multitude of influences, could work. There’s no definition for what the trio produces.

But blanketed over that variety of sounds and genres is a shatterproof sense of peace and of unity.

Beats Antique has 10 stops left on their tour, which they’ve been chronicling in a Youtube video series.

Tags: BreaksDowntempoDubstepLivetronica