Out and About: Goldfish at Stage 48
    • MONDAY, APRIL 14, 2014

    • Posted by: Devin Granados

    Goldfish have jumped out of their South African fishbowl and shimmied over the Atlantic to bring us some fishy funk. A fortnight ago, the electronic duo graced the halls of Stage 48 for a bafflingly jazzy set complete with live saxophone and bass. The pair have been touring for years and have opened for the likes of Basement Jaxx, Fatboy Slim, and Paul van Dyk. But like Dory, they don't stop swimming, and coming off a non-stop tour taking them through Ultra Music Festival, Goldfish still delivered an endlessly energetic set.

    With a mixture of flashing lights, neon displays, and shining saxophones, Goldfish had us all mesmerized like a cat peering through a tank. Never have I seen a crowd so varied in age at an electronic show; from young college kids to sophisticated business men in their 50s, no one was excluded from the infectious groove of their old school jazz. Unlike age differences at a weekend Webster Hall concert, where the only real adults are drugged up 40-year-olds still stuck in their 20s, Goldfish brought in a medley of the classiest crowds from all boroughs. Although the show wasn't packed to the brim, the energy of the crowd more than filled up the room and left plenty of space for all sorts of swinging steps.

    After an exhausting two hours of dancing and screaming along to all the lyrics, I sat down for a quick chat with Dominic Peters, one half of the dynamic duo responsible for my hoarse voice and sore feet. Like a true gentleman of the Jazz era, Peters was a breath of friendly fresh air in all the crabby indifference of New York. To be completely honest it was hard to tell whether his manners were as well groomed as they seemed, or if it was all just my naive fascination with his South African accent. My own dialectic obsessions aside, Peters handled my fumbled inquiries with true decorum.

    In my investigative attempt to find the root of their symbiotic sound, I asked about the source of their jazz infused electro-swing. Peters responded with an insightful look at the development of dance music in the past century: "Dave and I, obviously we play jazzy instruments; he plays saxophone and I play bass. We grew up listening to a lot of jazz, while we were learning our instruments we developed a love for old school artists, and jazz was like the original dance music, and we wanted to take the energy from that and combine it with what's happening today."

    Furthering my investigative efforts I asked what the pair's top five influences for their music were, which considering how wide a spectrum of genre is covered in their sound, was probably a torturous question to try and answer. Their first should come as no surprise taking into account their band name and their origins in a land of great white sharks and African penguins. With definitive decision Peters answered, "The ocean and surfing. That's where most of our ideas come from." Peters then moved on to try and pin down the musical influences, "I wouldn't want call out five artists but it goes from rock, jazz, house, techno...there's an artist from every one. You could put Eric Prydz, you could put Luciano, you could put Ella Fitzgerald, you could put Soundgarden, and I guess St. Germain." At first my own ignorance had me completely baffled by the last one, you're influenced by an expensive French elderflower liqueur? Nope, that's absolutely not what he was talking about, St. Germain is a French nu jazz and house musician from the 90s. Although I probably could have understood inspiration from a liqueur, what says swinging 20s jazz like a cocktail?

    Our talk was cut short by Stage 48 employees eager to get home on a Wednesday night, and so I left with smiles and a firm handshake and was swept out the door in a closely guided exit with a security guard. Thrilled and unabashed at the night's successes I aimed a sarcastic salute at the cross security guard and strolled away into the warm spring night, all the time I could hear echoes of the "ooooh wah oooh wah oooohs" from "This Is How It Goes". After all the excitement, my taxi ride home was a melancholy blast to the past as David Poole's saxophone was still blaring old school jazz in my head. Only Goldfish could manage to imbue nostalgia into an electronic show that should otherwise scream modernity. Who could have guessed that electronic music would be the genre to ironically preserve jazz for the generations.

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