A quiet Sunday evening is not just interrupted but actively destroyed by a riot of jazz, funk, EDM and house music in the form of busking phenomenon Too Many Zooz. Although the band gained popularity and acclaim after garnering millions of views of their performances on YouTube, they originated in the winding subways of New York City and project an energy and urgency that could not have emerged from anywhere else.
After observing a busker in Old Market Square, I followed the sound of the streets indoors to the magnetic energy of Too Many Zooz. I may have left the streets behind, but the atmosphere of excited creativity remained. The trio delivered a frantic almost non-stop set, synthesising brass instruments with EDM musical structures, creating the sense of both a Mardi Gras festival and a grimy drum and bass event.
“His bold appearance is underpinned by relentless dancing”
The band is composed of saxophonist Leo Pellegrino, trumpeter Matt Doe and percussionist David Parks. The combination of the performers instruments and different energy levels provided a captivating sensory experience. Adorned with a bedazzled fanny pack, Hawaiian floral t-shirt and blue hair, Pellegrino demands attention. His bold appearance is underpinned by relentless dancing and dynamic grooving to the contrasting steadiness of the saxophone. Meanwhile, Doe provides an antidote to Pellegrino’s energy, statically and absently playing his trumpet despite its erratic sounds. Parks stands mysteriously in the background, wearing space goggles and a homemade drum kit, he provides the backbone to the set.
Despite being unaware of what to expect from Too Many Zooz, I found myself unable to stop smiling and moving. This music compels you to dance. It is loud and urgent and excited. The crowd were immediately behind the band, thriving during the songs’ build-ups and house-like drops. The flashing lights illuminated manic head bopping and reaching arms as the crowd sang along to the noise of the brass instruments.
“Too Many Zooz are better enjoyed in small doses”
The band is at its best in the moments of build-up and tension before a drop. However, after the initial novelty and innovation of the band’s brass instrument EDM style, the repetitive nature of some of their songs did become tedious. Impressively, at 10:20 after playing for an hour, the band spoke and took a break for the first time, allowing both themselves and the audience a much needed rest. It is possible that Too Many Zooz are better enjoyed in small doses and are perhaps more suited to a festival environment.
Although this music is exciting and unique, it is definitely something you have to decide to enjoy rather than something which is easy to like. However, once you do decide to embrace it, its energy and originality will win you over.
Image from of Brandon Nagy, courtesy of Too Many Zooz.