A Winning Combination

October 3rd, 2011

Black Taxi/The Bright Light Social Hour – Mercury Lounge – October 1, 2011

A single-release party just seems like an excuse to have a party, doesn’t it? Well, on Saturday night at Mercury Lounge, that’s what Brooklyn’s Black Taxi was throwing for a crowd that didn’t need any excuses to come out and rage. Taking the stage a hair after midnight, frontman Ezra Huleatt, bare-chested beneath a blazer—his usual attire—took the microphone, marched across the stage with a bass drum, blasted a trumpet and played some keys. And this was just the first song. Riding Krisana Soponpong’s irresistible Rickenbacker bass, a shade of ska ran through almost every number, like a band born of the British Isles and not the BK (think Franz Ferdinand, Doves, the Police). From there, it wasn’t a question of whether single release was a good reason for a party, it was more about how crazy the celebration would get.

Last time Black Taxi played the Merc, the Bright Light Social Hour, from Austin, Texas, opened the show, and the combination seemed so right, they just went ahead and did it again. The crowd assembled this time was twice as large (now pretty much filling the room) and twice as enthusiastic (stopping just short of bras and panties being thrown at the stage). While the band seemed concerned that everyone was having a good time, their music left the audience no choice. Mixing Southern rock, prog-y jams, discotheque dance and sweaty, sensual blues, the group’s repertoire was like a gratuitous sex scene: Sure, maybe you don’t need the Bright Light Social Hour, but after one listen you ain’t gonna change the channel. —A. Stein