Don't let the name of the group fool you. The Phenomenal Handclap Band is much more than a motley assortment of musicians using just their hands to make music. But phenomenal, they certainly are.
Formed in 2008 by fusing eight multi-talented performers from lower Manhattan and Brooklyn, The Phenomenal Handclap Band was cultivated by New York City-based DJs and production partners, Daniel Collas and Sean Marquand. Described by National Public Radio as "a perfect mix of everything from the past 40 years of popular music," Collas and Marquand's taste for more mainstream music and underground artists spanning all genres was the biggest inspiration for the band, as well as their impeccably extensive knowledge of music from all over the world.
The men take queues from 1960s and 1970s psychedelic rock, funk-rock, indie-rock, progressive rock and 1970s Brazilian funk. In an interview with BlackBookMag.com, Collas explains their penchant for being drawn toward these influences, stating "As a DJ, it’s your nature to gravitate towards more oddball, obscure stuff and to have the stuff that nobody else has."
Their debut album includes the (Schoolhouse Rock inspired?) hit song "15 to 20" with its catchy, rhythmic beat, funk undertones and old school hip-hop/rap lyrics. "Baby" sounds like a modernized version of a 1970s funk/soul track. And "You'll Disappear" is reminiscent of a fun, disco-inspired tune. Rave reviews of their work from publications like the New York Post, Elle, and Anthem Magazine lend The Phenomenal Handclap Band much credibility, proving their innate accessibility and undeniable allure. -Kirsten Swenson
The Phenomenal Handclap Band, Thursday, April 1st, 10PM at the Iron Horse. Tickets here.