Harlem Shakes – Music Hall of Williamsburg – March 26, 2009

March 27th, 2009
Photo: Elizabeth Weinberg

Photo: Elizabeth Weinberg

To borrow a phrase from Snoopy, yesterday it was a dark and stormy night. But inside Music Hall of Williamsburg, Harlem Shakes (named after an old-school dance move) washed away the wind and rain with light, airy music at the record-release party for the Brooklyn quintet’s 10-song debut album, Technicolor Health.

The band, sartorially slick in collared shirts and some wearing jackets, tore through new songs like “Strictly Game” (the first single) and “Niagara Falls” (singer Lexy Benaim’s “personal favorite”) while still making time for “Carpetbagger” and other older tunes. Each song was a staccato burst of energy, and while Benaim sang, “We won’t dance” on “Sunlight,” the audience—many of whom were decked out in vests, ties and, curiously, a pirate hat that seemed to make its way around the room—decidedly disagreed by furiously shaking it all night long.

A freewheeling group of musicians substituted in and out throughout—a backup singer, two guys who made like Todd Rundgren and banged on a drum, and, most notably, a three-man brass section. And let’s face it: Horns are like bacon, and everything tastes better with bacon. While the audience was clearly into the whole show, concertgoers enthusiastically greeted the two-song encore, “Winter Water” and “Technicolor Health,” by happily clapping along and engaging in a full-on boogie-down session before heading back out into that dark and stormy night. —R. Zizmor