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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    “Occidental Brothers drops hot, playful beat”

    Sometimes a name really does say it all. The Occidental Brothers Dance Band International lived up to its namesake as it left the crowd glowing with sweat Saturday night.

    For its first visit to Tucson, the Chicago, Ill., band attracted a sizeable crowd of people who were ready to leave their scuffmarks and, for some, footprints all over the floor of the Mat Bevel Institute.

    The art space was an unusual but appropriate venue to host the concert. The interior looked like an off-kilter science museum that doubled as an art installation that was then converted into a dance hall for the night. Yet the lively playfulness of the environment matched the spirited performance of OBDBI.

    To ears accustomed only to the steady rhythms of American rock and pop, the band’s polyrhythmic songs were a delirious experience. When performed live, OBDBI’s songs often stretched beyond their recorded cousins, which allowed for different musical extremes to be experienced. The layers of music would either become so intertwined with each other that a person’s body was drunk with rhythm, or the non-percussive instruments would suddenly drop out and leave behind a stark and steady beat reminiscent of ritualized dancing.

    The crowd broke out into dance at the very beginning of OBDBI’s set. The shuffling of feet and the swaying of hips ebbed and flowed along with the music. Couples and individuals absorbed OBDBI’s songs and used them to create their own private world that unknowingly transformed into a public circle that dominated the dance floor for much of the night.

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