What use could an up-and-coming soul and funk band find for an antiquated bit of classical music terminology?
A name, for starters.
Meet Con Brio, a Bay Area soul and funk band known for high-energy performances. What is Con Brio?
“It’s a musical direction, a classical musical term, meaning with feeling or with vigor,” keyboardist Micah Dubreuil said. “It struck us as the right medium that we wanted to bring to the music, and, when we are at our best, how we play.”
Con Brio is Dubreuil (keyboard), Jonathan Kirchner (bass), Andrew Laubacher (drums), Benjamin Andrews (electric guitar) and Ziek McCarter (vocals).
Dubreuil, Kirchner and Laubacher formed the band in San Francisco in 2009. After some lineup changes, today’s Con Brio came together in 2013, with the addition of Andrews and McCarter. The group also features a horn section for many shows, most commonly Brendan Liu (trumpet), and Marcus Stephens (tenor sax).
“We’ve been together coming up on two years, in March or April,” McCarter said. “We’re still very fresh, but we are all in agreement to create a platform of positivity for everyone through our music.”
2014 saw the band record its debut E.P., “Kiss the Sun”, to be released this week.
“It’s really heavily collaborative, which I think is what defines the band in a lot of ways,” Dubreuil said.
Inspired in part by the legendary bird the Phoenix, the E.P. captures the band moving in a variety of new directions.
“Musically, lyrically, the whole experience; like a movie, we’re trying to create a lot of images,” McCarter said. “This is our introduction to the world.”
The album was recorded at Faultline Studios in San Francisco, and overdubbed and mixed by Kirchner at home.
“We wanted to get something out as quickly as possible, and we felt really good about that batch of songs,” Dubreuil said. “A first E.P. is really like a calling card. This is our sample menu, so to speak.”
Con Brio is already at work on songs for a full-length album, having recorded three new songs in January 2015. The band is also looking toward an expanded tour schedule in 2015, heading across the country while expanding its territory on the West Coast.
January’s E.P. release was the group’s second appearance at Crystal Bay of thewinter. Con Brio played the Red Room in December, at an after-party for Dustin Thomas.
“We love Tahoe; it’s always a great time,” Dubreuil said. “People are always down to have a good time, and we really enjoy it.”
Self-described as “one hell of a dance party”, Con Brio is committed to making every performance fresh and new.
“Even though we do some of the same songs frequently, we like to treat them as if we’ve never performed them before,” McCarter said. “We’re creating an experience that we’ve never experienced before, or the audience. We’re kind of like alchemists in the moment, recreating the song.”
With such a high standard of live performance, expect Con Brio to have a few fun surprises in store for its debut release.
“We always have things special planned,” McCarter said with a laugh. “It’s up to the audience to come find out for themselves.”
- Con Brio
When: 10 p.m. Saturday, April 18
Where: Crystal Bay Casino’s Red Room
Tickets: Free show