Envision an exotic belly dancer wearing a George Bush mask, and seductively shaking her hips to the music collaboration of a classic fiddle player and an electronic D.J. That was the scene of the Beats Antique show at Texas Music Theater this past weekend.
Oakland-based group Beats Antique performed at TMT as part of its national tour Sunday. The current tour began in early October after the release of the group’s third album, Elektrafone.
The music and performance collaboration features Zoe Jakes, David Satori and Tommy Cappel.
The trio produces its own sub-genre, a blend of world and electronic music that incorporates tribal belly-dance. Satori and Cappel play a variety of instruments during sets while Jakes performs belly dance routines.
The group performed most of the new album at Sunday’s show. Cappel said Elektrafone is more live-oriented and fluid than past Beats Antique albums.
“It has a bass line of live. Everything is done live and cut, whereas before we did everything in our studio at home,” Cappel said. “Our live show speaks louder than any of our albums. It gets really crazy at the end, pretty fun, crowd-surfing, animal masks and weirdness. I think it just adds to the over all vibe.”
Jakes had costume changes and performed a different routine for each song at Sunday’s show. Chairs, gas masks, drums and an additional guest belly dancer were incorporated into the performance.
Jakes and the guest belly dancer created a crowd uproar when they put on George Bush and Bill Clinton masks, hopped in an inflatable raft, and crowd surfed through the venue while throwing confetti and water on the audience.
Jakes started belly-dancing around 11 years ago, and turned it into a career when she traveled with Belly Dance Superstars in 2005. She first started dancing ballet, jazz and tap as a young child.
“I would say that I got into belly dancing when I was just a kid traveling around the country, and having a good time. There was no intention behind it beyond having fun,” Jakes said.
Sunday’s show was full of local belly dancers and music enthusiasts.
Kaylah Hilliard, anthropology graduate, is a local belly dancer. She has seen Beats Antique’s live show three times, including Saturday night’s show at La Zona Rosa in Austin. Hilliard has taken three belly dancing workshops with Jakes.
“The concert is kind of the spectacle part of it and the cultivation of everything. The workshop really breaks it down and you find out all the things that lead up to that, physically and mentally,” Hilliard said. “It’s a really good experience just to go through the process and get to know them as people instead of just an amazing goddess on stage.”
Sarah Scogin, 23-year-old San Marcos resident, is a local belly dancer who attended Texas Music Theater for the first time to see Beats Antique. Scogin has taken two belly dancing workshops with Jakes and is scheduled to take another in January.
Scogin said she has been a fan of Beats Antique for years and appreciates the new album after seeing it performed live.
“It’s definitely different. Every album they come up with has a completely new sound. It always takes listening to it a few times to get used to it, but I am in love with it already,” Scogin said. “It’s definitely amazing to see it performed live.”
Sunday was the first time the band has been in San Marcos. They have been on the lineup for large-scale music festivals such as Bonnaroo and Austin City Limits.
Jakes said she couldn’t believe the band hadn’t been to San Marcos before Sunday, since they have played countless times in nearby Austin. She said the band had been excited to play at Texas Music Theater since they first heard of the venue’s opening.
Beats Antique has around 20 national shows booked for the current tour.
“I personally prefer doing a show over and over again. The vibe of the group is changing and the show is always changing, but at the same time we are able to sync more into certain songs,” Jakes said.