By Valerie Clarke
CCC Journalism Program
BLACKWOOD – On April 16 at 12:30 p.m., the hip-hop, indie rock jazz band Kneebody, a group that originated in Los Angeles, performed at Camden County College. The overall experience was a trip into the avant garde world of music, as the band used different effects and crazy drum beats to help express its genre.
The Grammy-nominated band has performed at Camden County College three times before thanks to Mike Billingsley, a professor in the music department at CCC. Founded in 2001, the band didn’t release its debut album, “Kneebody,” until 2005.
The band consists of five men who don’t have a lead singer but let their instruments speak for them. Adam Benjamin, Ben Wendel, Kaveh Rastegar, Nate Wood and Shane Endsley are the members. Benjamin is the founder of the band and is the keyboardist of the group. Wendel is the saxophone player and enjoys other instruments, composing and writing scores for films. Rastegar plays the bass and enjoys writing music. Wood is into playing guitar, piano and bass as well as producing music. Endsley was named one of the top 25 trumpet players of this generation.
The performance took place in the lecture theater in the Civic Hall. Students liked the show and felt the band did an excellent job performing, Kneebody enjoyed the opportunity to bring its new music back to CCC. CDs, including some that were self released, were for sale.
Kneebody has a live sound of rhythm that makes listeners want to move. The band has no room for the cliché of “elevator music” that most people perceive from its genre.
All the members write music, including “Cha Cha,” which was written by Endsley. The song expressed each player’s individual parts as well as a deep harmony that brought all the instruments back together. If you never heard of Kneebody, think of them as the Weezer of the indie rock, jazz, alternative scene in music and a group of very smart sensible men who are noticed by the magazines and still will come from a show in New York to see students at CCC.