Thursday, March 21, 2013

TONIGHT - heartbeat: a modern dance rock concert

I don’t ever wanna be without your love, so marry me, baby. Smile while I drive you crazy.”

As the house lights go down, and the band queues up, the chills of excitement have already starting coursing through your body. When the lights slowly come back up, you're welcomed into a different world, a pleasant break from your own - a world dreamt up by George Woods and narrated by songs from his band’s latest album "Heartbeat."

The concept of "Heartbeat: A Modern Dance Rock Concert" started about two years ago as a dream of Woods - literally from a dream: “That’s actually music that was transcribed out of a dream. I woke up wide awake at 5 in the morning. I had it written and demoed and mixed by 9am. I woke up to a dream of a woman dancing in a dark room with a spotlight on her, and she was dancing to the music that’s now track six,” Woods shared.

The whole event is a labor of love, from the six members of the band performing the music, to the twelve dancers performing the stories, to all the behind the scenes hands, which is a true testament to the caliber of the evening. An interactive experience from start to finish, you'll be kept on your toes with not only the narrative but also everything happening around you, as the dancing takes place throughout the theatre itself. Normally when listening to an album, you're relating your world to the songs that you're listening to, but in this case you're living and experiencing the stories behind the songs that deal with human emotions, especially those romantic emotions and relations, that we all struggle to cope with. Landon Chapman, a creative contributor and lighting operator, spoke highly of Woods’ music, “‘Heartbeat’ is a narrative driven concept album that pulls you in with various textures of music, evoking jazz, folk, and a contemporary sound that is hard to cleanly categorize.”

Those who have seen The George Woods band before should not think of this as an opportunity to pass because they’ve “been there, done that,” as it’s definitely the first time that Woods and company have worked to put something like this together. The story is with no dialogue between characters, but all through the songs and movement. It’s different from your normal concert, as you can not only feel the moments of tension, but see them as well -- “it’s an experience of the human experience,” as Woods puts it.

When it came time for Woods to look for a choreographer and a creative partner to help in this project, he felt as though the stars aligned. After posting one flyer in Crema Cafe which plainly stated, “The George Woods Band is seeking an experienced choreographer to work collaboratively with on a project that involves live band and dance,” within twenty-four hours he received his first response from Jen Kuhnberg, and after sitting down with her he realized that there was a connection - not only about the project itself, but when he stories of the songs and of his life, she admitted to the narrative being the story of how she met her fiance. Getting the chance to talk to a few other members of the project, it sounds like that that was the consensus overall; we’ve all gone through this, and there’s nothing more than we’d all appreciate than having the opportunity to pass along these feelings and emotions told in such a magnificent way with others.

“The thing that’s great about working with Jen on it is that she gets her own personal artistic satisfaction out of it separate from whatever I get, which is awesome. She came into the project and she had a method to tell her own story within the one I had already shared,” Woods commented on the collaborative efforts between himself and Kuhnberg. As lucky as he was with finding Kuhnberg, Woods shared that the whole evening came together as if it all ‘fell from the sky.' Getting the chance to speak with Blain Crawford, the bassist of The George Woods Band, he, again, commented that the narrative is very universal and resonated with him. “Everyone has a lot of things that have happened to them in their lives, it’s just that not everybody so eloquently puts it into a form of expression as what George has done here, and that’s really what I enjoy about it. It’s very well stated. It’s a great album, and I can tell you for a fact that everyone who is a part of it loves every aspect of it, and that’s the reason that I know it’s going to be successful and a great thing - that’s the making of every great undertaking.”

Be sure to get yourself out and to The Oberon tonight at 8pm, as this is an once in a lifetime event you don't want to find yourself having missed out on. To find out more and to purchase tickets go to George Woods' website.

Poster design: Amy Kucharik.
Album art: Erica Leigh.

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