Leviathan Brothers' keyboardist (and occasional OC Weekly contributor) Sean O'Connell announced from the DiPiazzas stage: “This week marks the sixth year of the five-year anniversary of Tupac's death. To commemorate the occasion, we're going to play an original.” Now that's wit. He and his band mate, drummer Miles Senzaki, then commenced to forge a moving soul-jazz composition that cascaded with great beauty.
Rare is the group for whom between-song banter alone is worth the price of admission, but such is the case with Leviathan Brothers. The fact that the Hawthorne-based duo create rhythmically kinetic and elegantly melodic compositions and inventively extrapolate on some classic pop tunes (including Lou Reed's “Perfect Day,” Nilsson's “One,” Beach Boys' “Don't Talk [Put Your Head on My Shoulder],” David Bowie's “Life on Mars?”) is a huge bonus.
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Recalling Medeski, Martin + Wood and the Bad Plus, minus the bass, of course (4-stringer Miguel Sawaya departed after LB's self-titled 2006 EP), Leviathan Brothers possess excellent chops, tight song structures and zero jazz-snob stodginess. Their improvisational tangents balance observatory training with playfulness and just enough cowbell (more would be gratuitous and too obvious). Tonight's rendition of “Life on Mars?” is done with glamboyant flair and the surging dynamics and purging dramatics of a Cold War Kids song would likely have caused its creators to blush over how great LB made it sound.
Leviathan Brothers had the light but very appreciative crowd hollering for more by set's end, so the band did the honorable thing: They called it an evening.
[Below is a video of Leviathan Brothers' “Playground Love,” an Air song from the Suicide Girls soundtrack.]