I’m not going to lie, making my way down the stairs and into the dark basement of the Barboza night club I was nervous. I had never heard of Northern Shakedown before and the idea of a hip-hop/rock sound was intimidating in the sense that I wasn’t prepared to expand my musical horizons to this genre this particular night. I was honestly anticipating the “Chop Suey” of live concerts, but before System Of A Down played for more than fifty people. Four days later and I can confidently say that my foolish and ill-timed conclusions were put to rest a mere minutes into Northern Shakedown’s set. Where I anticipated chaos I found a soothing and rhythmic cadence of fully rehearsed chords. Where I prepared for aggressive and loud vocals I found sincere and developed flows accompanied by a genuine vocal talent. In my pleasant surprise I stood to the side of the stage for a song or two and just observed. It was difficult to decide whether I wanted to continue watching the band and try to appreciate the energetic stage presence of each member or if I wanted to focus on the crowd and watch as every present soul found meaning in a word, line, or chord. I split the difference. After the set had been completed, Northern Shakedown took their bows and quickly found the exit, leaving Barboza and making their way onto my Spotify playlist.
Haiku Poetics; the name is only half true in the sense that everything about them is poetic, but good luck fitting them into 17 syllables. This band has everything you would expect of a local talent; consistent drumming, funky bass lines, slick guitar riffs and roof shattering vocals. What you don’t expect is the expertly and cohesively included Trumpeter and an equally professional vocalist with an extremely fast, yet comprehensible and memorable, flow. From the first line of the first song that the Haiku Poetics graced the audience with, I was hooked. Frontman Daniel exuded passion as he hit every note and spit every line. Jordan reminded us of the classic joy that the electric guitar is, and inspired us with his own unique sound. Marissa brought the sweet sound of brass to the performance with her powerful trumpet playing. Ben kept me moving the whole performance yet somehow still had me guessing on the drums, and Byron laid a powerful bass tone over the entire night that stayed in my head for hours after the show (in a good way). Haiku Poetics commanded the stage and everyone's attention to it from start the finish, which was not nearly long enough to satiate those present with their music. This was obvious when every voice shouted “encore!” at the conclusion of the final song, yet to the disappointment of the masses, time did not allow for an encore- this time.
I feel that I owe a debt of gratitude to Haiku Poetics. Not only for their amazing show but for also allowing me to come backstage for an interview with frontman Daniel. After making my way across the stage and into the band’s room backstage, and after taking a shot of some celebration juice I got a few minutes of time to ask questions:
Daniel explained that the band in its current state had only been together for four months and that it was their first time actually performing all together.
Daniel told me that he has always loved music, and really remembers embracing that at 7 years old.
Daniel explained that he has always gone by the pseudonym “Haiku” and that fellow band member and drummer Ben suggested that they add something to “Haiku” to make it more unique and also easier to find in this digital age of search engines.
Daniel told me that he has always been inspired by old school country and hip hop. He said some of his biggest inspirations have been Brotha Lynch and Tribe Called Quest.
Daniel told me that he actually started it as a joke when he was 15 years old but started taking it more seriously when he turned 18 and quickly found that it him happy, the rest is history.
Daniel proudly said that he feels incredibly lucky and incredibly spoiled by each member of the band. Smiling, he talked about how several have been in jazz band their whole life, how Byron has toured all over the country and can write out any song musically and how blown away he is by their cohesiveness.