On March 7, 2019, I had the pleasure of seeing Brasstracks (@brasstracks) live at Metro Music Hall in Salt Lake City. Ivan Jackson and Conor Rayne, the primary duo, brought the artists Pell (@PELLYEAH) and Kemba (@Kembaland) along for the ride. The show was a fantasic and intimate display of instrumentals. It drew in the audience to create an experience that only a live show could.
The first thing to notice on stage was the setup. Conor and Ivan were on opposite sides of the stage, while their backup instruments were centered. Most notably, Ivan’s keys and Conors drums were facing each other, engaging the audience in their interaction. This setup allowed Brasstracks to bring you in, making you feel like a part of the performance. Ivan, on trumpet as well as keys that night, was very mobile onstage. He used his talents to make music while getting the crowd involved in hand waving and jumping.
Brasstracks’ focus on instruments lends itself well to live performance. Frequently, all instruments on stage would improvise solo performances that reminded me of jazz improvisation. With their hip-hop influence, the improv morphed into a lovely medley that gave new flavor to songs they covered, such as Drake’s “In My Feelings”, or the live-exclusive cover of Ghost Town DJs’ “My Boo”.
Of course, the original music was even more wonderful. The song “I’ll Sing About You” felt particularly emotional. Ivan shared how his inspiration came from dedicated fans and even sat down to play the opening minutes of the track. The sitting was so simple, yet made the music feel intensely personal and emotional. Ivan gave a peak into his heart with that song. “Vibrant”, with Pell on vocals, suited as the tour’s title track. Lighting on stage shifted to fit the shifts in the music perfectly. It was a treat for the eyes and ears, and I’m sad I’ll never see it quite the same way again.
Any member of the audience that night could tell you Brasstracks was having fun performing. Sure, they told you, but it was how they performed with animation and attacked every beat and note that constantly fed you the idea they were having fun. The small encouraged the connection between artist and audience. They traded energy with the audience. Brasstracks took everyone’s enjoyment and elevated it to elate and excite on new levels, making every motion of the lights, drums, keys and trumpets forever memorable.