Artist You Should Know: Gordon Voidwell

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By KCRW DJ Dan Wilcox:

gordon voidwell
Gordon Voidwell

One of my more fortunate discoveries at this year’s SXSW Music Festival resulted directly from a phobia of mine… one that I doubt is discussed in any esteemed psychology journals.  It is the fear of Port-o-Potties.

Hanging outside at a showcase with a strong need to relieve myself, I opted for heading inside to use the bar’s “facilities.” And what I found there was somewhat of a rare surprise for SXSW: in this dark, dank tavern at 2:30PM were 300 people all bouncing their asses to the most infectious party-jam band I have heard in many moons… fronted by the wild, vivid personality known as Gordon Voidwell.  It didn’t take long to become 301.

Gordon Voidwell is the moniker of one Will Johnson… a post-modern philosophy graduate who majored in getting down.  GV balances his act like some kind of James Brown Startime-era splits-move… with one foot planted back into 80’s R&B a la Rick James & Prince and the other foot extending forward into beat-driven future-funk. Backed by an exceptionally tight band, their rambunctious live shows earned them an opening slot for V.V. Brown.

It’s tough to discern if the single “Ivy League Circle” is less of a Wall Street putdown and more of a playful poke at himself and other NYC contemporaries with higher learning pedigrees like Vampire Weekend & Yeasayer, once you get to the rousing chorus repeating the words “we’re all together” it really doesn’t matter.”  Gordon Voidwell is the real deal.

I’ll be deejaying along with Gordon Voidwell & The French Horn Rebellion at 14 Below in Santa Monica this Friday, June 11.

Dan Wilcox