UM student-led band, SHENZI is touring the east coast this summer and I got the chance to catch their Atlanta show at Smith’s Olde Bar. The band, comprised of vocalist Des Bannister, guitarist Conor McCarthy, keys player Andrew Novoa, bassist Koa Ho and drummer Jonathan Hulett, took the stage at the small local bar following opening performances by From Earth (which McCarthy is also a part of) and Mozay.


The multi-genre group is difficult, if not impossible, to categorize, bringing elements of jazz, funk, rock, R&B, and electronic music to the table. Their charismatic group dynamic was absolutely infectious. Each member brought something unique to the essence of the group and was given the opportunity to shine.


Koa Ho’s moment came during “Climbing,” a stunning neo-soul song he wrote which the band recently released as their first single. Des Bannister’s powerhouse vocals impressed throughout the night, but especially during a personal track she wrote about belonging and a spectacular rendition of Childish Gambino’s “Redbone.”


The band brought the house down during the highlight of the show, an energetic performance of the in your face rock and roll track “Further,” written by Conor McCarthy who killed the guitar solos on the song. John Hulett dazzled the crowd consistently with drum solos as did Andrew Novoa with his keen use of synths and a charming song of his own toward the end of his set.


By infusing so many different genres SHENZI has cultivated a sound all their own. The band is touring until the beginning of August, don’t miss them if they are coming to your city. Find more information at

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