I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from Dhani Harrison’s music collective thenewno2. I’d heard their brand new sophomore album, but it was so textured and layered with sounds and styles — ranging from dub to electro – I wasn’t sure how it would play out live. Especially since their private show for KCRW was their first live show around the album.
Going in with no expectations or presumptions, I was left solely with the music and it was very, very good. Excellent, in fact.
While I can’t seem to find the words to sum it up since it’s so far ranging, I will simply describe it as this – headphone music for the year 2012. The sort of music you sit alone in a room and listen to extremely loud and get lost in.
In fact, my favorite song from their set, called “The Number”, is definitely nighttime music. (Dhani noted after the show that it’s his favorite as well.) While I’m far from a Beatles expert, it actually sounds the most Beatles-y to me of any of their songs.
Dhani’s lineage (he’s the son of George Harrison, for those who don’t know) is not all that apparent except for a two things: his voice and the fact that he looks exactly like his dad. It’s almost uncanny. But aside from that, he’s just a talented musician who brought together a bunch of friends – including Grammy-winning sound engineer Paul Hicks, who he’s known since childhood — to create a batch of songs.
Other highlights from the set included the opener “Station”, “Timezone” (with Dhani on ukelele), the mesmerizingly catchy “Make it Home” and “Staring at the Sea”. Jason Bentley got an early listen to the album and it was THAT song that really won him over. It was also one of the first where Dhani was playing guitar and directly facing the audience at the front of the stage, in full frontman mode (he was playing keyboards as well).
During the interview, he was utterly charming and prompted many bursts of laughter as he talked about the making of the record and more. This was a big night and he had lots of support, including appearance from friends Jim Carrey and Shepard Fairey.
Legendary producer Bob Clearmountain was at the board for this session at Apogee’s Berkeley Street Studio and the session will air on July 31, the day of the album release and the day before Dhani’s birthday. Check out the set list below.
thenewno2 Set List
I Won’t Go
Make it Home
Staring Out to Sea
Live a Lie