A&E » Arts

Mixing it up for a party



Who: Garaj Mahal

Where: The Boot Pub

When: Saturday, Nov. 30 and Sunday, Dec. 1

Garaj Mahal are a mixed bag to say the least. The jam band quartet contain an Afro-German bass player (Kai Eckhardt), and a Pakistani-Chilean guitarist/sitarist (Fareed Haque). Add to that a Californian drummer (Alan Hertz) plus a keyboardist from Chicago (Eric Levy) and you have an eclectic mix of sounds that even the band itself can’t define.

Some fans call them fusion, some call them improviso, but it seems everyone calls them a damn good night out. Call it a mish-mash of talented musicians if you will, bringing their extensive musical backgrounds to a natural amalgamation.

Their shows are known as a total surprise that hark back to the old days of jazz playing party music. Friends have been known to drop in and play along, people have been plucked out of the audience to sing along and every genre of music gets a gong. Elements of blues, jazz, acid-jazz, hip-hop, groove and funk can come through at any time.

Drummer, Hertz, said the band enjoys the fact people have come to expect the unexpected: "If we played the same set every night, we’d get bored and I’m certain the audience would get bored too.

"Garaj Mahal is more about the experience on each individual night," he said. "We like being open to new sounds and being free of cliché statements. Some bands may be all about the songs and the lyrics, they need to make a soloist statement, but we don’t."

One of the band’s main goals each night is to incorporate the crowd.

"We don’t like to play for people that are sitting down, generally speaking, and we’re all about the party so we play our best when everybody is moving."

Garaj Mahal also have no problem if anybody wants to bootleg their performance. "We’re all for it," Hertz said.

The Boot is hosting two Garaj Mahal gigs and the band want everyone to get out and get down. Hertz said the band always look forward to coming to Whislter.

"A show is as much about the music as it is about the acoustics and the Boot has a real warm sound once we take the stripper pole off the stage, and you Whistlerites are always party people."