Published Oct 21, 2016Part of what has made Toronto outfit BADBADNOTGOOD's reputation since their breakthrough five years ago or so is their taste: a smorgasbord of genre-crossing influences that comes through most prominently in their choice of cover material.
So when the band — which have officially become a quartet since their last visit to Halifax, adding saxophonist Leland Whitty as a full-time member — brought their opener Daniel Caesar onstage, you had a feeling something special was going to happen. (Or, as drummer Alexander Sowinski put it, they planned to "have a little bit of fun and make a little bit of magic.") Sure enough, their take on "Alone Again" impressed, and their version of Roberta Flack's "Feel Like Makin' Love" — clearly influenced by D'Angelo's cover from his Voodoo album — was thrilling.
Other more common BADBADNOTGOOD covers showed up, too, including Flying Lotus's "Putty Boy Strut," but the band's original material held its own, too. The crowd cooled a bit with slower jams like "Cashmere" from this year's IV album, but thankfully, the band aren't just skilled musicians but seasoned live performers. At the slightest hint of an energy dip, Sowinski was ready to take the mic and lead the audience in a build-up or chant to get things going again, and when the band's furious jazz noise ramped to its climax, it was damn hard to resist.