Taxi: Get Funked.

22 April 2002 | 12:00 am | Eden Howard
Originally Appeared In

Live And Let Live.

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Taxi launch Taxi Live at The Zoo on Saturday.

“It was all done live at The Zoo,” saxophonist River explains. Well you’ve got to blame someone, don’t you? We’re talking about Taxi Live, the new disc from Brisbane’s premier funkaleros. A swashbuckling exercise in groove, energy and off the wall humour.

     “It was done in July 2000 on a Sunday,” trumpeter Peter continues. “We wanted to fit one more gig in before River went away, so it was all done in one bash.”

    “I thought they were going to release it while I was away, but they were polite enough to wait for me to return,” River jokes. “It was the first time we’d tried a live recording in order to release it, and the vibe of it came up really good.”

    Peter: “The first CD we did we went to a studio and it didn’t have any of the live vibe, and the second CD we went stupid in the studio and got extra horn players, extra instruments, everything to try and capture the vibe that we had. It sounded like a beautiful studio recording, but it didn’t have that Taxi thing that we do.”

    One thing that’s undeniable in Taxi’s live recording is the crowd are there to have a good time, and the band are more than willing to reciprocate.

    “We didn’t have to turn them up too much in the mix,” River laughs. “We didn’t have to dub anything extra in over the top. If they didn’t cheer enough we were going dub in all the crowd noises from a live Scorpions album from Germany. It’s like a stadium with half a million people screaming. We didn’t need to luckily.”

    Why do you think it’s so difficult to capture the Taxi sound in the studio?

    Peter: “Basically it’s very hard in a cold studio to capture the energy we have live, because we don’t have the crowd participation, I reckon. A lot of what we do, we’re just jumping around being silly. If you’re in a studio you’re just standing there in a really empty room ‘just thinking time is money, time is money’. When we play live a lot of it comes from adrenaline, and there’s things you just wouldn’t do in a studio. When it’s live River and I might just look at each other and you’ll just pull something out that’s a bit more interesting.”

    River: “When we play live we end up mucking around with the songs a bit more. Things that you normally wouldn’t think of doing. You’ve got to jump around”

    Even though Taxi Live is a compelling snapshot of the band, the fact that it was recorded over a eighteen months ago means the band have evolved from the form you’ll hear on the record, and should you venture along to catch them Saturday night you’ll be in for a different live experience.

    “It’s going to be better on Saturday,” Peter reaffirms. “There’s a lot of new elements in Taxi’s performance since we did that recording. We’ve only played twice since that recording. We just feel like a new band again. We’ve got that vibe again. We’ve got a new drummer (Mark from Afro Dizzi Act), and he’s managed to do something really special to our music. It’s given Taxi a whole new vibe and feel.”

    Perhaps an odd statement considering the huge variety of styles and feels the band already drag into the extroverted style. Then again, more is more.

    River: “He’s young and he’s very up on lots of different music styles. He plays funk beautifully with Afro, but he’s also been in punk bands. So when he plays live, because he’s an emotional player it comes out even more.”