<—-(Parima Thai Restaurant, Sunday night, 10:30pm: just checking. Yep, remarkably, the roof’s still there. Good thing it’s a vaulted one.)
Novalima blew the lid off the place.
There it is, out in the open for the public record.
Eight members strong (and strong is the word); one musician for every year they’ve been a group. They shook it, smacked it, and sang it for all they were worth in a sold out show that lasted a little over two hours last night at Burlington’s Parima Thai Restaurant.
A late-breaking engagement (it helps that their record label is here!), their only Vermont appearance was squeezed in between shows at Montreal’s Nuits d’Afrique festival, Millennium Park in Chicago, and the rest of their North American summer tour.
The stage setup spoke volumes. I took a quick count before they got started and noted an iBook and two keyboards (at the back), an electric guitar and bass (one on either side), and four different drum setups of various sizes, styles, and tools. Four.
Best instrument of the night had to be the large bleached lower jawbone that clattered and clacked its way through the hands of several bandmembers in the course of the show. It’s just cool to ‘play’ a jawbone, that’s all there’s to it. (“Jawbone of an ass” – sound familiar? Check out the reference here for fun.)
True to their roots, Novalima spins out catchy Afro-Peruvian grooves heavy on percussion and powerful vocals. The contemporary twist is that the acoustic instruments and high energy, rhythmically- infused melodies are also overlayed with a tasteful veneer of electronic sounds and effects that amp the music into the ‘club mix’ zone and make it irresistably danceable.
These are musicians who thrive in the energy of a live house and love playing with each other. It was obvious in the rounds of smiles that made their way around the group throughout the show, and in the ‘click’ of the music itself.
They were on.