Add to your ‘list of things to do immediately’: Attend a Too Many Zooz performance

Leo P (close)

Leo P. on the baritone sax. / Photo credit: Loan Le

Leo P. knows how to move. That was one thing I noticed at last Saturday’s Too Many Zooz concert at SOB’s on Varick Street. It’s not the most important detail, but it might be one that can explain Too Many Zooz’ rising popularity.

The Harlem-born brass house band—consisting of trumpeter Matt Doe, baritone saxophonist Leo P., and percussionist-extraordinaire David “King of Sludge” Parks—rose to fame in the beginning of the year when a video of their Union Square performance went viral.

Brass house is a genre mixing rock, EDM, jazz, and African drumming. Unlike the constant stream of pop and EDM music so popular these days, Too Many Zooz are able to satisfy listeners with addicting, pulsing sounds not from a digital mixer, but from smooth saxophone riffs, powerful trumpeting, and organic percussion that makes your bones vibrate.

At their midnight show, Too Many Zooz performed songs from their sophomore EP FANIMALS, which was released Sept. 6. “Wet” had a strong jazz influence, its swaggering rhythm very much evident. “Limbo” seemed to slow down the concertgoers, reducing their jigs to a head-bobbing movement. And yes, Too Many Zooz also delighted the crowd with “To the Top,” “Maritza,” and “F.W.S.”, the songs put them on people’s radars in the first place.

Parks backed his band mates with his underlying percussion, though I hoped for a solo from him. Doe, with steel lungs, commanded the trumpet, hitting high notes that were pleasantly on pitch. Leo P. showed off his quick-footed moves during his solos—which must have delighted the male and female attendees, if their screams were indicative of their enthusiasm.

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l to r: Leo P., David Parks, Matt Doe / Photo credit: Loan Le.

The front row danced absurdly, while other concertgoers remained somewhat conservative with their dancing, perhaps contained by the packed floor space. It was hard not to find Too Many Zooz’ beats contagious. At one point Doe gave a PSA announcement, urging everyone to step up their moves. All bands need a voice, and Doe seemed to be the perfect person for the role as he cracked jokes and directed the attention over to his band mates rather than to himself.

In the background, a screen played clips of wildlife as the band’s visuals—from elephants walking in their herds to lions dragging its predators across an arid desert. Such segments certainly reflected the inhuman sounds that Too Many Zooz was so capable of making. While their sound was entertaining, seeing their live performance was also a wonderful treat.

Recently, Moon Hooch, fellow buskers, appeared on NPR’s Tiny Desk, a segment known for showing talented up-and-coming and veteran artists. Perhaps Too Many Zooz will join the celebrated guest list soon?

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