Last week a few members of the Music Dealers staff attended Schubas where Akasha was. We posted video of their performance here. Today I read a great review that summed up thei show perfectly. Below is the review.
In today’s world there are a lot of horrible things that take place. Yes, some are worse than others, but nonetheless they all need to be corrected in the end to set the imbalance of the universe right again. That was the specific goal of Monday nights benefit concert at Schubas Tavern. Long time Chicago musician Christopher B. Neal who has played in numerous local Chicago bands and who has worked sessions with many others artists, had his brand new tenor saxophone stolen last month. So, in order to rectify the situation four Chicago bands (in which Christopher plays in) assembled to try and raise enough money to buy Chris a new tenor saxophone. Akasha was the band I specifically set out to see that night and they blow me away! The band opened the show with a three-minute instrumental that was as hard and grungy as any Rage Against The Machine tune that I’ve heard. Scott Moss’s dirty electric guitar sound and percussive mutes really made the opening riff memorable. Then just as I was about to jump through my skin and scream at the top of my lungs the music cut and the lead singer Cosmos Ray reverentially approached the front of the stage.. He began to sing the repetitive words “go back to sleep America” in almost a lullaby fashion. As the rest of the band came in to accompany him the song slowly built into a kind of rock anthem and then somehow returned back to only Cosmos Ray singing the sweet lullaby “go back to sleep America”; A beautiful example of songwriting and musicianship.
As Akasha’s set continued I found myself jamming to deep reggae grooves that pulsed through the drumsticks of Mikey August and the bass of Doug Bistrow. With lush vocal melodies and staccato keyboard parts played by Christopher B. Neal, these reggae tunes carried a resemblance of the great Bob Marley and Peter Tosh. On top these grooves the lead singer Cosmos Ray incorporated his unique vocal phrasing that he combines with an authentic reggae feel to give the songs originality, yet kept them rooted in a traditional reggae vibe.
The mixed bag of musical styles that Akasha brings to each show (rock, reggae, blues and hip-hop) might sound too diverse to work, but there is a common thread amongst the band members that holds it all together and gives the show a seamless flow. Their energy emanates from the stage and spread throughout the crowd. As I looked around the room I noticed that everyone was absorbed in the mesmerizing performance and there was an unmistakable feeling of unity and oneness as all bobbed their heads and tapped their feet.
The bands name Akasha is Sanskrit for “the element of omnipresent spiritual power that permeates the universe,” and there is no doubt that this group has many more souls to permeate.
by Remington Pettygrove