Normally listening to a DJ and seeing live music are two different things. With BoomBox you get both. BoomBox combines the beats and grooves of producer and DJ Russ Randolph with the guitar playing and vocal stylings of Zion Rock Godchaux. BoomBox will perform two headlining shows at State Bridge Friday and Saturday night.
BoomBox originated in Muscle Shoals, Ala., a city with a rich Rock n’ Roll and soul history where Aretha Franklin, Otis Redding, Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones and numerous others recorded. Godchaux’s own parents are both musicians who performed with the Grateful Dead throughout the ’70s. Acknowledging their musical roots is important, but BoomBox also wants listeners to live in the now. The duo doesn’t create setlists prior to performing, instead letting the mood of the audience dictate the show.
“It’s like a conversation,” Godchaux said. “We’re not prophets. We can’t predict what the vibe of the crowd is going to be until we get there. Creating a setlist that afternoon (before the show) doesn’t make sense to us, so we just leave it open.”
Bright hats and brighter lights
With the current wave of electronic-based acts rising high, especially in Colorado, creating a one-of-a-kind live experience is crucial to any group’s success. BoomBox pulls this off by adding a spectacular light show to go along with the music.
“(The light show) is just as important,” Godchaux said. “We want it to be beautiful to the eyes, beautiful to the ears and the whole atmosphere to be a high-caliber experience.”
Also signature to BoomBox is Godchaux’s bright fuzzy hat, which he said was part of the inspiration for forming the group.
“We’d never played live before and it was my birthday and I saw a fuzzy hat in the window,” Godchaux said. “The clouds parted and a ray of light landed on the hat. Something (inside me) said, ‘Well this thing BoomBox that you guys want to do, (this hat) is part of the uniform. That’s what you’re going to wear whether you like it or not.”
‘Go out there and sink or swim’
Godchaux’s hat may be fuzzy, but the band can also get pretty funky. That’s how local DJ Ramona Wouters, who goes by simply Ramona, described BoomBox. Ramona toured with BoomBox and will be one of the acts opening up for them this weekend. Ramona likes how the duo doesn’t just attract those who are heavily into the electronic scene.
“They do everything live, not mixing records or anything,” Ramona said. “They’re not an electronic band because of the live influence, it’s a mixture. (Because of this) they appeal to a large variety of crowds.”
Music has coalesced to a point where genres do little to define just exactly what you’re going to hear at any given live show. For BoomBox this is a good thing as they only like to describe their music in one way: “Rock ‘n roll”.
“To me rock ‘n’ roll is (about being) without a net,” Godchaux said. “It’s full freedom of expression regardless of what the norm is ... For me and Russ, we’re approaching it like Rock ‘n’ Roll. We don’t have setlists and just go out there and sink or swim.”
Rock ‘n’ roll is their credo, but don’t expect any tight leather pants or shiny shirts from the group anytime soon.
“We’re not out to be rock stars,” Godchaux said. “We’re more like public servants. We love the people, and we love our audience. There’s healing that happens (at our shows) and it only happens because we try to put ourselves out of the way so that can come through.”
With a soul and rock ‘n’ roll past, a show that strives to live in the present and electronic beats that focus on music’s future, it’s unclear just exactly what fans can expect to experience with BoomBox this weekend. No need to worry though because just like the audience, the band won’t know what they’re going to play until they step on stage either.
“Something (inside me) said, ‘Well this thing BoomBox that you guys want to do, (this hat) is part of the uniform. That’s what you’re going to wear whether you like it or not.”
BoomBox singer and songwriter