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JULY 08, 2006
Tortured Soul: The Future of House Music?

TorturedsoulI love surprises. Not everyone does. But when I go out, leave all expectations behind and things unexpectedly and surprsingly unfold in front of me, a good night has been had. Earlier tonight, I hit Smart Bar, an underground mostly House venue in Chicago that serves Newcastle (always a plus in my book) to see Kid Beyond, a SF-based beatboxer who does things with his mouth and vocal chords that you can only imagine (he seriously sounds like he's being backed by a full band -- brass and all -- and it's all him). I was told he was going on closer to midnight, so when I showed up closer to midnight and he was on his second to last song and sweaty as hell, I was a little disappointed.

But as soon as he finished, Whyteout, a Chicago House veteran, hit the decks and tore shit up. He spun a crazy mix of soul and R&B and primed the crowd for the headliner: Tortured Soul.

I had never heard of them before but my pal, Anika, knew them and said I had to stick around. I really had no idea what to expect: a live house band?! But when these three guys, all dressed in white shirts with skinny black ties, sat down at their keyboard, drums and bass and started in, the crowd went nuts. Apparently they've had a bunch of songs circulate throughout the House scene and they released their first album in March. They've worked with top DJs (Dimitri from Paris; Spinna) and remixed some soul sistahs (Vivian Green, Goapele) and collaborated with the hot hot hot Sabina from Brazilian Girls. I'm not sure how I've never heard them before, but there's a first for everything.

They played for more than an hour and it was really cool to see a House crowd get lit from a live band -- that sang too. Dropping in groovy soul, jazzy licks and some hearty basslines, it was hard to believe this was coming from a live combo. But seeing the happy on everyone's faces was almost as cool as just kickin' back and movin' with their sound.

While the boys are from Brooklyn, they travel all over and have played in places like Fabric in London and just hit Bonnaroo and Summerfest in Milwaukee (of all places), where they shared the stage with DJs Heather and Colette (who I love) and points throughout Europe this summer.

Check out some MP3s:
How's Your Life

Don't Hold Me Down

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