“Don’t fill up on the bread…” Nasri’s analogy of concerts and dining out. If you eat to much before the main course, you’ll feel stuffed and the meal won’t be as enjoyable. Also their viewpoint with live shows, don’t fill the time, purely for the sake of extending the event, make it worth every moment. The band didn’t play for long, just under an hour, ten songs on the setlist. But is was a solid and entertaining performance for the entire time, no dull moments, it kept a nice pace.
This four piece group hail from Canada, a reggae fusion band, stylised as “MAGIC!,” now based in Los Angeles. Composed of lead vocalist, songwriter and record producer Nasri Atweh, along with Mark Pellizzer on guitar, Ben Spivak on bass and finishing with Alex Tanas – drums, all of them sing backing vocals.
The lead vocalist is not a stranger to the business, he’s just working his way from behind the scenes to center stage. Nasri and Adam Messinger have co-written and produced big hit songs for other artists, and impressive list, for sure… Christina Aguilera, Chris Brown, Big Time Rush, Michael Bolton, Peter Andre, JoJo, Jay Sean, Vanessa Hudgens, Justin Bieber, David Guetta, Shakira, Cody Simpson, Cheryl Cole, Boyzone, JLS, Kat Deluna, Elliott Yamin, Jason Derulo, and Akon, Pitbull, No Angels, and Iyaz.
Yes, the band is still relatively new, forming in 2012, and that can be a challenge during live performances, not like they have a huge songbook to select from. The audience certainly got into it though, much more of a mellow “grove” thing going on. Basically pop songs with a reggae influence, the young crowd was super excited.
As the crowd rushed the stage, you could see the Resorts World security looking a bit perplexed. This venue is set as theatre seating, not much room in front to stand and the crowd was basically yearning to stand up and sway with the music. Security moved people back to their seats with not much success and by the third song they just let them stay in place. With no barricade the fans in front experienced a performance, up close and personal.
The stage lighting was solid and a few interesting graphics up on the huge video screen in the backdrop, but not a great deal of stage hype, they let the music do the talking, and it certainly did. Sound quality was top of the line, nice work.
Chatting with the band backstage, I found them to be friendly, approachable and just a bunch of nice folks. Nasri has refreshing outlook on life, focusing on continually improving himself, even while on the road, he currently takes on-line courses in Spanish and song theory at Berklee college of music. He doesn’t drink or smoke and keeps busy with other activities, now taking self defence classes while on the road.
I was impressed with the cover of Stevie Wonder’s “Master Blaster.” He said Stevie Wonder has influenced his music, along with Bob Marly and Sting. “Little Girl in A Big World’ sounds like a track that could have been recorded by the Police, way back in the day.
I’m sure you’ll hear much more from these guys and it was actually great to catch an up and coming band. Especially, from a photographic point of view, if they hit it big time, the access usually becomes much more restrictive. They’ll be fronting for Maroon 5 on their upcoming tour, and the band is psyched, as well they should be, playing for huge crowds and attaining a great deal of exposure.
They’re also excited about an upcoming appearance on the the Latin Grammys, at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on Nov 20. I’m sure they’ll do well. It will air live on the Univision Network from 8 – 11 p.m. ET/PT (7 p.m. Central).
In 2013, their debut single, “Rude”, garnered much attention, a great track and of course was the last song not the setlist. It’s one of those super catchy songs that’ll get stuck in you head for a week and a half.
Back to the dining analogy, just like at those gourmet restaurants, high quality food with small portions, like the rest of the crowd, I left the venue still hungry. Can’t wait to see them again, I could use a few more bites…