Knitting Factory, Brooklyn, NY
November 12, 2016
On my final night in New York, I gathered with my oldest group of friends for dinner, some live music, and coffee/dessert in Williamsburg. Well, except that there was traffic that caused some of us to run late, so while the rest of my crew was finishing dinner next door, I zipped over to catch The Dayz at the Knitting Factory.
I’ve known The Dayz’ frontman Dax Callner since my days publishing Geoff Wilbur’s Renegade Newsletter, but I had never seen him perform live with this or any previous band, so I was looking forward to it. I’d heard the band’s music, so I knew I was in for something good.
I estimated the set start time incorrectly, so I missed about half of the set. A shame, since what I caught was, as expected, tight, catchy, and original.
The Dayz, at least on their Facebook page, refer to themselves as a “collective.” Elsewhere online they use the more common term “band,” but I kind of like collective. The seven-piece outfit is comprised of Dax Callner (vocals/guitars), Aaron Green (bass), Alix Brd (vocals), Richie Phillips (saxophone), Terry Shook (drums), Alroy Teves (guitars) and Michael Villarosa (keyboards). But, as one might expect from a collective of talented musicians who enjoy playing together, any of them can carry the musical load for significant stretches of a given song. At times in the few songs I heard, Dax, Richie, Alroy, and Michael all ably took the lead and stamped their musical signatures on significant song segments while still maintaining a Dayz sound.
I was just settling in during the end of “Waves,” so the first song I heard in full was “Ascension,” a funky, smooth, jazzy number with great harmonies and a silky sax contribution I really dig. Its hook is in its rising vocal line.
“Ice Breaks” features a quick-strumming ’70s style and, once into the meat of the song, the sax notably rocks it as hard as the guitars. It was followed by “The Contrarian,” which struck me as having a bit of that David Bowie “Modern Love” vibe but a bit more rockin’ with interesting piano/keys meanderings. Plus saxwork featured as a full solo.
The final song of the evening, “The Fourth Estate,” is truly something special. It could clearly be The Dayz’ signature song, a catchy number that would get any club or arena crowd on its feet and moving. Look for this tune to turn up in pop culture at some point.
And that was it. Short and sweet. A few exceptional songs from a talented collective of musicians.
In a single phrase, I’d probably describe The Dayz as a soulful rock band. Stylistically, However, they deliver the live, party-atmosphere energy of a big-time ska band in rock ‘n roll wrapping with some soulful vocals and melodic jazz elements sprinkled in for original flavoring.
Looking ahead, you can catch The Dayz live December 7th at 8:00 pm at The Bowery Electric.